Medication is becoming more and more expensive as new drugs are developed all the time.
The Government’s way of keeping the lid on the cost is to use the inappropriately named “National Institute for Clinical Excellence” – NICE – as the gatekeeper. They are tasked with assessing the effectiveness of new drugs. That’s a NICE thing to do, because nobody wants drugs that don’t work.
But increasingly NICE is not just a gatekeeper but also a ration book. Making decisions about whether a drug is not just effective but also cost effective and that is not so NICE.
The Government would like to see “wider social benefit” taken into account when considering whether to pay for a drug on the NHS. This is just a back door way of making some drugs only available to people who are still economically active i.e. young enough to “contribute to society”.
Cold hearted economists in the treasury obviously didn’t take the Hippocratic oath. You could certainly see how we will save a lot of money by not giving expensive drugs to older people who were no longer economically active.
This is a very slippery slope which is contrary to all the principles of the NHS by putting a price on useful years of life. A harsh outcome of these times of austerity?
It has nothing to do with clinical excellence nor care excellence, but a lot to do with expedience. Perhaps NICE should change its name. How about:-
NASTY INSTITUTE FOR CARE EXPEDIENCE