2 Evidence summaries

2.1 Aims

Evidence summaries aim to:

  • provide a summary of the best available evidence relating to the use of a medicine for a specific condition within the context of other NICE guidance in that therapeutic area

  • inform national commissioning decisions about medicines, for example by NHS England

  • provide consistent access to the best available information on a medicine to guide local decision-making and planning, for example, by the regional medicines optimisation committees (RMOCs), within an area prescribing committee (APC) across a clinical commissioning group (CCG) or NHS trust within a local health economy (this helps avoid potential duplication of effort at a national, regional or local level)

  • provide information for healthcare professionals to inform their decision-making and support the development and updating of local formularies

  • help inform the public about a medicine and condition to help them make decisions about the medicine

  • provide information about an unlicensed medicine or off-label use of a licensed medicine that is being considered when there are no suitable alternatives licensed for that situation

  • inform the development or updating of NICE guidance.

2.2 Key audiences

Evidence summaries are produced to inform the decision-making of:

  • groups involved in:

    • commissioning or funding services using medicines (such as NHS England, RMOCs and local APCs)

    • developing medicines optimisation policies

    • individual funding requests, for example, within a CCG or NHS trust

  • healthcare professionals caring for individuals

  • healthcare professionals[2] involved in local commissioning decisions for planning purposes, for example, within a CCG or NHS trust

  • patients and the public

  • local medicines optimisation and horizon scanning services.

2.3 Key activities

Producing an evidence summary involves:

  • identifying, prioritising and selecting the topic

  • summarising the best available evidence

  • critically reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the selected evidence

  • placing any new and existing evidence in the context of the wider evidence base for managing the condition, particularly NICE guidance, if available

  • highlighting any potential implications for local decision-making or clinical practice.

[2] There are restrictions on the promotion of new medicines to healthcare professionals before receipt of a marketing authorisation. Information on yet-to-be-licensed medicines may be provided to healthcare professionals only for planning purposes in their role as commissioners.