Today's announcement by Health Secretary John Reid follows on the back of a report by the National Cancer Director showing that there are unacceptably high variations across the country in the uptake of cancer medicines approved by NICE. The pharmaceutical industry has long argued that, despite guidance issued by NICE, patients in many areas of the country are still be denied treatments that are available to others.
"All our evidence has been that, sadly, postcode prescribing is still alive and well in England and Wales," said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
"NICE was set up to eliminate wholly unacceptable variations in prescribing practice, yet it has long been clear that its efforts have had little effect in ensuring that patients are given the best, most appropriate medicines for their condition.
"It is excellent news for patients that the Government has now recognised the continuing problem and is taking steps to improve the situation. We all have to hope that the measures announced today will finally resolve the issue of postcode prescribing."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410