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NICE may be too generous

An editorial in the British Medical Journal questions the cost effectiveness threshold used by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) claiming that is may currently be too generous. The BBC has reported this story.

This editorial was written by John Appleby, chief economist at the King's Fund. The article highlights that the current cost-effectiveness threshold is arbitrary and inconsistent across the NHS; the cost-effectiveness threshold employed by NICE is higher than calculated equivalent thresholds used in Primary Care Trusts. The editorial concludes that the NHS should be given "independence from the Department of Health on the specific matter of setting a cost effectiveness threshold".

The guidance produced by NICE is increasingly coming under critical review. Broader discussion is required to clarify how the NHS should invest a limited budget in order to obtain maximum healthcare benefits.

Action: Clinicians should continue to implement NICE Guidance but may wish to be aware of the ongoing debate regarding the cost-effectiveness threshold.

Thanks to PharmaGossip for spotting this editorial.