The United Kingdom's publicly financed National Health Service has granted near-veto power over drug reimbursement decisions to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, an independent organization known as NICE. As a result, British health authorities are expected to adopt or deny new medical technology based on NICE's assessment of the benefits of this technology versus its impact on health-care costs. This process and the resulting delay in coverage have generated intense controversy in the UK. At the same time, NICE's operation has aroused interest in constructing a similar mechanism in the United States. At this conference, Andrea Sutcliffe, deputy chief executive of NICE, a group of British and American analysts, and an American biomedical industry representative will examine NICE’s method and its implications for U.S. policy.
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