LONDON The screw on drug pricing will take a further downward turn with the introduction on April 1 of a new "affordability" test in England.
That will see the National Health Service (NHS) in England able to delay introduction of any new drug that will cost more than £20 million (US$24.9 million) a year, even though it has been deemed cost-effective and recommended for use by the health technology assessment body, National Institute of Heath and Care Excellence (NICE).
At present, any product that passes NICE's very strict rules on cost effectiveness must be made available in the NHS within 90 days. The new budget impact test means a drug that will cost more than £20 million in any one of the first three years of use will automatically be subject to "commercial discussions" between the company and NHS England "to mitigate the impact."
Announcing the change, Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said, "Companies will