Pricing: NICE vs GSK


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the body that approves drugs for the NHS, will go head-to-head with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on the issue of drug pricing at the 2009 Bupa Health Debate on 25 March. The debate pits Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of NICE against Simon Jose, senior vice president of UK pharmaceuticals at GSK, at a time when conflict between the two organisations escalates over Tyverb, a GSK breast cancer drug. NICE is refusing to approve Tyverb because it is “not a cost-effective use of NHS resources”, despite GSK’s offer to fund the drug for the first 12 weeks of treatment.

This is just one example of ‘life or death’ decisions NICE takes over which drugs to approve for use on the NHS, as it battles to make best use of the limited NHS resources for new medicines. But pharmaceutical companies argue that the prices they charge for new drugs are a fair reflection of their multi-million pound investment in research and development.

Escalating drug prices is not just a UK problem. …

Pricing is a hard ethical problem, partly because there’s so little good scholarly work on the problem.


About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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