A British government institute that approves drugs based on cost-benefit analysis is coming under fire at home even as other countries are seeing it as a model for bringing down costs, the New York Times reports. Though the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence often balks at expensive life-prolonging medications—denying one cancer patient a $54000 treatment that would have given him six months—some see it “as the only workable paradigm” of US reform.
In a world of skyrocketing medical costs, many think the reasoned approach to drug approval is necessary. But Britain presents a special case, as the government-run health system means the expensive drugs in question are not available at all, unlike the US. Advocates say artificially high drug prices, and not the system, are to blame.