The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Technology Appraisal process assesses the clinical and cost effectiveness of new and existing drugs and treatments, and provides guidance on their use by the NHS. As part of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) agreement which came into operation on 1 January 2009, the Department of Health (DH) and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry agreed that the DH would review the variation in uptake of selected medicines in the NHS in England.
The NHS Information Centre was asked to produce a bulletin looking at variation in the use of these medicines in relation to the number of eligible patients as estimated by NICE. Data on the number of patients being treated is not available and so predicted use (using the average dose and average length of treatment) was compared with observed use. Data on observed use in 2008 was taken from the primary care prescribing data from NHS Prescription Services and secondary care data provided by IMSHealth.
A range of 26 drugs positively appraised by NICE was selected, covering 13 technology appraisals. In some cases the estimated numbers of eligible patients was small, so data is presented at national level only.
This is an experimental publication and is the first of a planned annual series. Feedback is requested to help inform how best to estimate uptake to allow meaningful interpretation of any variation across NHS organisations in future. A feedback form is provided.