NICE changes timetable for implementation of selected technology appraisals

Published: 28 April 2017

In response to the unprecedented financial pressure on the NHS, NICE is changing the arrangements for the evaluation and funding of drugs through the technology appraisal (TA) and highly specialised technology appraisal programmes.

Currently, drugs and other treatments recommended in NICE TA programmes must be funded and available within 90 days of publication of the guidance. However, some NICE recommendations can cost the NHS considerable amounts of money that must be found regardless of ongoing pressures and other priority funding requirements.

In order to soften the impact of expensive new treatments which meet a £20 million annual net budget threshold (the 'budget impact test'), NICE and NHS England will aim to:

  • negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the budgetary impact of new treatments
  • phase the cost of introducing the new treatment over a longer period when negotiations do not resolve the budget impact challenge.

In addition, special arrangements will also in place for:

  • funding treatments for very rare conditions
    • the more benefit to patients a medicine offers, the more generous the level of potential funding will be, rising to a maximum of £300,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). This is 10 times the limit normally applied by NICE
  • drugs offering exceptional value for money
    • these drugs will go through a fast-track NICE appraisal process with the aim of becoming available to patients 30 days after approval by NICE, initially applying to drugs costing up to £10,000 per QALY.

For more detail on the proposals, and information on how they may work in practice, visit the NICE website or review the Consultation on changes to technology appraisals and highly specialised technologies.