News Archive

Archive of: September, 2010


  • The challenge of rarity – putting the N in the NHS

    The Alliance has published a report on England’s new approach to commissioning health services, products and technologies for small patient populations. This includes recommendations calling for:

    • clarity about the criteria determining whether a product or technology will be assessed under the new arrangements or by NICE. These might be expected closely to reflect the new Advisory Group on National Specialised Services’ decision-making framework;
    • transparency in the process, so that all parties can see the major factors influencing decisions about which products and technologies should attract funding;
    • a holistic approach, which demonstrably weighs all the complex considerations governing health gain, societal value, reasonable cost and best practice;
    • robust regional arrangements for those services, products and technologies neither suitable for commissioning at national nor local level;
    • ethical consistency in decision-making across the NHS drawing on the framework as a template.

    Companies also need to show responsible commercial behaviour in responding to society’s wish to help people with very rare conditions in great clinical need.