The ABPI has welcomed the publication of the fourth update of the ‘NICE Technology Appraisals in the NHS in England - Innovation Scorecard’ by the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), on behalf of NHS England. Linked to this publication there are, for the first time, heat maps provided by NHS England, which clearly shows the problem of variation in patients’ access to new medicines depending on where they live.
Whilst it is recognised that there are some legitimate factors which influence variation, for example, local or regional demographic factors which influence health needs and subsequent supply of medicines, there appears to be significant unexplained variation in usage at local area for many medicines illustrated by this new mapping data. The most significant example of this is a ten-fold difference in the usage of Denosumab¹ – a drug used to treat Osteoporosis.
Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, said:
"We welcome the introduction of the heat map data as it makes it easier for patients and the NHS to see which areas of the country patients may still not be getting access to medicines. This should enable important conversations to take place about the reasons for this variation, and it is time for more assertive local action. Whilst we welcome this more visual information as it improves transparency, it doesn’t address the issue that, some patients are at a disadvantage because of local barriers to medicines use".
¹ The last quarter shows variation in cost (£ per 1,000 females over 50) of between £24.09 in East Anglia to Merseyside of £228.94 approx a 10 fold difference.
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