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NICE delays holding up new treatments

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Patients are being denied access to new medicines by more than five years because NICE is missing its own deadlines for over 75 per cent of drugs, a report has found.

The Office for Health Economics revealed that, over the last decade, NICE had missed its 301-day target for drug appraisals in 77 per cent of cases. It had also missed 420-day target for multiple drugs in 81 per cent of cases, although the report acknowledged that legal challenges outside of NICE's control added to the delays.

The report, obtained last week by GP magazine, said it currently takes an average of five years from a treatment's launch by a manufacturer to NICE approval.

A spokeswoman for NICE said the figures were 'skewed' because they include drugs that received their licences before the institute was established. She added that appraisal times had 'decreased dramatically' in recent years.

'NICE works hard to ensure the NHS has access to robust guidance for medicines as quickly as possible,' she said.

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