Statement from Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd. (Novartis) on The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) announcement on changes to technology appraisals and highly specialised technologies.
Mar 15, 2017
With today’s announcement from NICE many patients could face significant delays in accessing NICE-approved medicines and potentially lose their right to be treated with them. NICE and NHS England consulted on their plans however they do not appear to have taken into account most of the concerns expressed or alternative solutions offered by Novartis and other stakeholders.
Novartis recognises the challenges faced by the NHS and is committed to developing effective solutions to help ensure its sustainability. Introducing additional measures to constrain investment in medicines proven to be cost-effective and to improve or save lives will further disadvantage patients in England and goes against their basic rights under the NHS constitution. The annual cost to the NHS of medicines is already capped through an existing agreement with the Government.
“This decision will have a great impact on many patients, from people with heart disease and diabetes to those with cancer who are in great need of new treatments. Patients in England are already at a disadvantage compared to other countries and this will make a bad situation much worse,” says Haseeb Ahmad, Managing Director and Country President UK. “We had hoped that our discussions with the Government on their new industrial strategy might lead to an improved UK environment for science and innovation. Decisions such as this will not only mean delays to UK patients' access to many medicines, but will also make the Government’s industrial strategy ambitions much harder, if at all possible, to achieve."
Patients in England face increasing barriers in accessing medicines whilst Scotland and Wales are making strides to improve access to new medicines. Overall the UK lags behind other European countries, with just 15 UK patients receiving a medicine within the first year of availability compared with 100 patients in countries such as France and Germany.
This policy also breaks a promise in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto, in which the party committed to speed up patients’ access to medicines.
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About Novartis Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2015, the Group achieved net sales of USD 49.4 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 8.9 billion (USD 8.7 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
In the UK, Novartis develops, manufactures and markets innovative medicines, devices and diagnostic tests which help improve patient outcomes. Based on four sites across the north and south of England, we employ approximately 1,500 people to serve healthcare needs across the whole of the UK, as well as supporting the global operations of Novartis by manufacturing the active pharmaceutical ingredients used worldwide in many medicines. In 2015 Novartis in the UK invested over £50million in R&D and is the largest commercial sponsor of clinical trials. For more information, please visit www.novartis.co.uk.