HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc343-4W
Mr. Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines he has issued on the dispensing of the drug Anti-TNF Alpha; and if he will make a statement; [82206]

(2) how many people have been prescribed the drug Anti-TNF Alpha; and how many are on waiting lists for the drug, broken down by health authority area. [82205]

Mr. Lammy

Guidelines on the dispensing of anti-TNF drugs were issued in March 2002 by the Iindependent National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). They recommended that consultant rheumatologists, or consultant paediatric rheumatologists in the case of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, should prescribe these drugs, in accordance with the guidelines set out by the British Society for Rheumatology and British Paediatric Rheumatology Group respectively.

We do not hold information centrally about drugs prescribed and dispensed in hospitals, which is where these drugs are supplied. Waiting list data is not collected for individual drugs.

On 5 December 2001, the Government announced that it would meet its manifesto commitment to ensure that patients receive drugs and treatments recommended by NICE on the National Health Service if deemed appropriate by their clinicians. Directions have been issued obliging health authorities and primary care trusts to provide appropriate funding for recommended treatments.

From 1 January 2002 the NHS will have three months from the date of publication of each technology appraisal guidance to provide funding, so that clinical decisions made by doctors involving NICE recommended treatments or drugs can be funded.