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NICE has promised to stop the blacklisting of drugs causing NHS postcode lottery

Published on 22/02/2012

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has promised to stop the blacklisting of drugs on the NHS because of cost.

Last November we reported that GPs were being told not to prescribe essential drugs to patients because they are too expensive, putting the lives of patients without private medical cover at risk.

NICE has said it will stop the blacklisting of expensive drugs on the NHS

GP magazine submitted a freedom of information request or Primary Care Trusts across the country. Of the 77 PCTs who responded to the request, 19 admitted to putting certain drugs on a ‘black’ or ‘double-red’ list, effectively banning GPs from prescribing them.

At least 14 drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have been considered too expensive to prescribe to suitable patients. These include drugs effective at preventing heart attacks and strokes, as well as fighting cancer.

This ‘blacklisting’ of drugs increases the NHS postcode lottery.

However, NICE will now produce a ‘best practise guide’, which states that medicines should be automatically incorporated on lists of available drugs within 90 days of approval.

The Department of Health has warned trusts that there should be no barriers to the latest approved drugs “beyond a clinical decision relating to an individual patient”.

NICE said it would publish details in the autumn of any sanctions for ignoring the guidance.

However, Dr Bill Beeby, the chairman of the prescribing subcommittee of the British Medical Association’s GP’s Committee, said more money had to be made available so more expensive drugs can be prescribed.

One of the main benefits of private health insurance is having access to drugs not approved by NICE or too expensive on the NHS. With health cover, you will often have unrestricted access to suitable treatments, regardless of the cost.

Medical insurance doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can save lives. Compare health insurance policies online now to gain peace of mind about your future health.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
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