While the release of statistics showing the use of medicines approved by NICE is a welcome step forward, their value is limited when further refinement is required of the way some of the figures have been calculated, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said today.
The statistics, released by the NHS Information Centre (NHS IC), compare the “predicted” use of medicines, as calculated by NICE, with their actual, or “observed” use.
But the basis on which the predictions were made seems too low, and needs further development. The ABPI will be discussing this further with NICE and the Department of Health.
“We shall be the first to applaud if more patients are getting NICE-approved medicines than forecast in most disease areas,” said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI.
“Enthusiasm over the results is tempered by the knowledge that not only are there other medicines being prescribed less than predicted but also, even where uptake is generally good, there are still areas of the country where postcode prescribing is alive and well.
“However, it is essential that the way of calculating the ‘predicted’ use of medicines is as robust as possible.”
The ABPI also believes that these statistics on the use of such medicines in England needs to be set against a comparison of uptake in other, comparable European countries.
The statistics are contained in a report by NHS IC entitled Use of NICE appraised medicines in the NHS in England – experimental statistics. The report was produced as part of last year’s Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS). The aim is to include more medicines, where methodologies or data will be available next time, in the subsequent reports.
For further information, please contact the ABPI press office: 020 7747 1410