The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), a UK government agency charged with deciding whether drugs should be subsidized by the British government, has been criticized by some patient groups for refusing to approve new and expensive drugs. Groups including the National Kidney Federation, the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance, the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, Beating Bowel Cancer, the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Alzheimer's Society have all objected against NICE decisions. "All of these charities received sums of up to six figures from drug companies in 2007," reports Jeremy Laurance, the health editor with The Independent. "A positive decision by NICE on a drug not only guarantees sales to the NHS but can influence global markets worth billions of pounds. Yet none of the charities named has criticised the high prices charged by the pharmaceutical companies for their products in their recent campaigns," he wrote.
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