UK politicians: Pay for drug performance

The flap over cancer-drug funding is heating up even more in the UK Politicians accused the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) of spending more money on marketing "spin" than on evaluating drugs. (Sound familiar?) But really, the "communications" line item lawmakers cited as 13 percent of the budget largely covers clinical guidance for doctors. And the 10 percent cited as drug assessment doesn't include money spent by other R&D folk.

Typical political-speak, but given the ongoing battle over whether the National Health Service should pay for expensive drugs, politics could end up determining whether drugmakers get access to the UK market. And politicians might determine just how much money pharma gets for those costly meds: Tories are suggesting that the NHS pay for the cancer drugs--but only if they work.

It's true that Johnson & Johnson agreed to a deal where the government only pays for the cancer treatment Velcade if patients respond to it. But that sort of evaluation wouldn't necessarily work for all drugs. But given the penchant for pay-for-performance in business, we can expect this proposal to cause some serious debate.

- see the article in the Guardian
- read the Telegraph story