The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently released a report in the U.K., which suggests that all new drugs should be assessed at launch with tougher initial cost hurdles for new drugs that are to be added to the state health service.

Since 1999, NICE has led the world in measuring the cost-effectiveness of new treatments. British parliamentarians have questioned the arbitrary nature of the threshold which was used to determine if drugs are too expensive. Kevin Barron, chairman of the parliamentary health committee, was quoted as saying that "The threshold at the moment is not rational ... it does not have any basis in hard science".

Drug manufacturers have condemned the plan and have stated that this new policy will make it even more difficult for British patients to access new medicines.

The report also addressed the use of older medicines that may no longer be cost effective, and it called for greater action to ensure that the agency's recommendations were actually implemented.

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