5.1 The Secretary of State and the Welsh Assembly Minister for Health and Social Services have issued directions to the NHS in England and Wales on implementing NICE technology appraisal guidance. When a NICE technology appraisal recommends use of a drug or treatment, or other technology, the NHS must usually provide funding and resources for it within 3 months of the guidance being published. If the Department of Health issues a variation to the 3-month funding direction, details will be available on the NICE website. When there is no NICE technology appraisal guidance on a drug, treatment or other technology, decisions on funding should be made locally.
5.2 When NICE recommends a treatment 'as an option', the NHS must make sure it is available within the period set out in the paragraph above. This means that, if a patient has myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia or acute myeloid leukaemia and the doctor responsible for their care thinks that azacitidine is the right treatment, it should be available for use, in line with NICE's recommendations.
5.3 NICE has developed tools to help organisations put this guidance into practice (listed below).
Costing template and report to estimate the national and local savings and costs associated with implementation.
Audit support for monitoring local practice.
5.4 The Department of Health and the manufacturer have agreed that azacitidine will be available to the NHS with a patient access scheme in which a discount is applied to all invoices. The level of the discount is confidential. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to communicate the level of discount to the relevant NHS organisations. Any enquiries from NHS organisations about the patient access scheme can be directed to the Vidaza PAS Enquiries Line on 0800 055 6775.