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Medical Treatments

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many treatments referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and assessed through its single technology appraisal process (a) have and (b) have not received a final appraisal determination within six months of receiving a product licence; (221141)

(2) what improvements he anticipates making to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's appraisal process, as referred to on page 44 of High Quality Care for All, Cm 7432;

(3) whether he plans to introduce a maximum time period in which the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence must undertake technology appraisals; and what proportion of treatments he expects will receive their final appraisal determination within (a) three and (b) six months of receiving their product licence following the changes announced in High Quality Care for All, Cm 7432.

As at 21 July 2008, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published final guidance for 21 single technology appraisals (STAs). NICE issued a final appraisal determination for four of these within six months of licensing.

The Government are exploring with NICE options for further improving the topic selection and technology appraisal processes to support rapid appraisal of significant new drugs.

We have no plans to introduce a maximum time period in which NICE must undertake technology appraisals as the time taken to develop guidance on a treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each case. NICE'S Guide to the Single Technology Appraisal (STA) process sets out the expected timescales for the development of guidance through the STA process, and is available on NICE'S website at:

www.nice.org.uk/media/8DE/74/STA_Process_Guide.pdf.