Uptake of treatments approved by NICE and NHS England can sometimes be slower than expected, which is frustrating for clinicians, patients, and industry. What are the roadblocks? What can be done to overcome them? Our roundtable panel discusses the issues.
The process of getting new, expensive, and highly specialised treatments to patients will always be slightly convoluted and involve significant effort for healthcare professionals and industry. The various processes have been in a state of constant change for the last decade, making it even harder for those involved to navigate the system. Increasing numbers of new treatments being approved adds to the problem.
Specialised Commissioning asked a panel of experts to identify the key practical issues facing them, and suggest ways of resolving them now and in the future. The senior professionals who participated in this discussion were chosen to reflect the diversity of expertise involved, including NHS England, clinical and finance leads, pharmacy, and patient groups.
Evaluation of medicines by NICE and NHS England
Jayne Spink started the discussion by sharing her concerns about the speed with which medicines are evaluated post-licence, which causes significant barriers for orphan medicinal products (OMPs); there are no fewer than 15 different ways in which OMPs are evaluated for the possibility of routine prescribing in the NHS, and only half of all OMPs with a licence are routinely available in England.
Peter Clark contrasted this with the situation in cancer, commenting that there are only two routes available to get cancer drugs into play in England: NICE’s technology appraisal (TA) system and the NHS England policy prioritisation process. However, he added that