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14 August 2007

A case brought by drugs companies Eisai and Pfizers and the Alzheimer's society to challenge the secrecy surrounding decisions made by the National institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has failed. Although the High Court ruled that the methods used by NICE discriminated against some patients it did not require NICE to reveal the secret workings of the software used to make decisions.

Benefits and Work has been following the case because the software used by NICE to assess drugs, and the 'commercial confidentiality' grounds for keeping patients in the dark, closely mirrors the situation in relation to incapacity benefits claimants and the secret LiMA software used by Atos Origin to assess their capacity for work.

Eisai said it was disappointed that NICE hasn't been obliged by the court to disclose details of the software. Eisai have, however, stated that they will appeal the High Court ruling. Benefits and Work will keep readers informed of the progress of the case.