Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE's) negative and restricting technology appraisals on the number of prescription items dispensed and the corresponding total net ingredient costs for drugs from 2000 to 2004 in the ambulatory care of the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales. In addition, it is discussed whether the NICE approach could be a role model for Germany.
Methods: The number of prescription items dispensed and the net ingredient costs of thirty-one drugs reimbursed by the NHS were analyzed, thereof thirteen drugs descriptively and twenty-one drugs with regression analyses. Data were extracted from the "Prescription-Costs-Analysis-Statistics" for the ambulatory care of the British Department of Health (England 1993-2005). In the case of the twenty-one drugs analyzed by regression analyses, predictions were established how the prescribing and the costs would have developed without NICE's drug appraisal. Finally, conclusions were drawn whether NICE's negative and restricting drug appraisals had a decreasing effect or not.
Results: For 97 percent of the drugs analyzed in this study, the publication of NICE's fourteen negative and restricting technology appraisals of drugs between 2000 and 2004 did not reduce the number of prescription items dispensed and net ingredient costs in the ambulatory care of the NHS in England and Wales.
Conclusions: Cost-effectiveness appraisals as performed by NICE or the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen, IQWiG) are a useful and important tool to enhance the discussion about methods and acceptance of evidence-based medicine in general.