February 5, 2013

Overvaluing expensive drugs

A research from University of York has concluded that NICE is overvaluing expensive treatments because its cost threshold - the price at which a treatment is deemed good value for the NHS - is set too high. The threshold value per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) - a measure of the health benefits of a treatment - should be lowered from £30,000 to just £18,317, their analysis found. It suggests the NHS may be wasting money on treatments that are not as good value as first thought. Professor Sculped said:
It is crucial that the cost effectiveness threshold is seen as representing health forgone as the additional costs of new technologies are imposed on the fixed budgets of local commissioners. For decisions made by NICE and many policy options considered by the NHS and DH, this is the key to establishing the value for money of new services.
This is a strong criticism against QALYs, let's see if it has some impact in the near future. Fortunately, the British have the opportunity to debate on it. Nearer here, the press is saying now that 30% of drugs requested for approval were rejected (7 out of 24). No details available, no website, no transparent process. That's alleged democracy, southern style. NTA=Nothing to add.

PS. If you don't want to read the article, have a look at this presentation. I suggest you save it, it may be useful for the future.

PS. As you can see from my blog, in one week, two officials have said different numbers of rejected drugs for public funding (2 vs 7). Does this make any sense? Is there anybody asking for an explanation in Parliament?

PS. Follow the controversy on DSM-5 at BBC News.

PS. Check here how our drug prices have converged to the european average.

PS. Must read: Uwe Reinhardt blog.

PS. Interesting article on 20 years of economic evaluations of cancer.