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Cancer: Medical Treatments

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on its Health Technology Appraisal process in respect of rarer cancers. (322517)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the end of life criteria used by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on the level of patient access to treatments for rarer cancers; (322523)

(2) whether his Department provides guidance to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence appraisal committees on the application of its end of life criteria.

The explicit criteria introduced in January 2009 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to inform consideration of certain treatments that can extend life near the end of life, have been a factor in NICE's appraisal of several medicines. Further information can be found in the written answer I gave the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) on 8 February 2010, Official Report, columns 708-10W.

The application of appraisal criteria to individual technology appraisals is a matter for NICE as an independent body. The Department has not issued any guidance to NICE appraisal committees on this matter.