NICE’s assessment of future costs and health benefits under scrutiny
August 2012: The Citizens Council of the NICE, which provides public input into the Institute’s work, has published its final report on the issue of how NICE should assess future costs and health benefits.
The Council members’ views on the issue of discounting will be used to guide the methods used by NICE’s independent advisory committees. Discounting usually involves upfront costs in return for the promise of future benefits and is thus a considerable challenge in healthcare, because stakeholders look for benefits straight away. The Citizens Council considers that discounting is a valid aspect of the calculation of future costs and benefits. It also considered instances where the costs are upfront and the benefits accrue over a long period of time; in such cases the Council advised NICE that it should depart from its current discounting policy—which is in line with all public bodies—of applying a 3.5% discount rate for costs and benefits.