UK High Court dismisses ABPI challenge to new NICE cost rules

The UK High Court has rejected an application by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) seeking to overturn new cost rules introduced earlier this year by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The rules, which came into effect in April, call for an additional negotiation process for drugs that have already been assessed as cost-effective if they are likely to cost the NHS more than 20 million pounds ($26.5 million) in any of the first three years of use. 

In its judicial review request, the ABPI argued that the rules would limit patient access to new treatments, adding that the ability to make such changes were outside of NICE's purview. The agency's own analysis has estimated that around one in five new medicines would be affected by the revised evaluation process. The ABPI filing was also seeking to reverse changes to the assessment of medicines for very rare diseases, a policy the group has described as "inappropriate and unworkable." However, the legal action was a contentious issue among ABPI members, with UK drugmakers AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline distancing themselves from the case. 

FirstWord Reports: Providing insight, analysis and expert opinion on important Pharma trends and challenging issues <Click here>

Commenting on the news, NHS England stated that "in this ruling, the High Court has rejected ABPI's flawed legal manoeuvres, which the judge said would 'produce an absurd result.'" The health body added that "rather than attempting to further frustrate NICE and the NHS' work to ensure patients and taxpayers get maximum value out of the 15 billion pounds ($19.9 billion) being spent on drugs, it now makes sense to work together towards that shared goal." 

Meanwhile, the ABPI said it was "disappointed that the judicial review application has been turned down," but that it is "now appropriate for us to take time to reflect on the judgement with our members and decide next steps."​ 

To read more Top Story articles, click here.