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Publication of evidence considered by JCVI

Mr M Harker made this Freedom of Information request to The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation

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Dear The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation,

today you have published your interim position statement on use of Bexsero meningococcal B vaccine in the UK.

In this statement you refer to an independent impact and cost-effectiveness study which you commissioned and which informed your decision. You state that this study has not yet been published. (An earlier version of this study has been published (Vaccine 31 (2013) 2638–2646), but not the final version on the basis of which the committee made its recommendations). Please publish this study (in the form seen by the committee or as further prepared for academic publication).

in the JCVI's Code of Practice (June 2013) it is stated that "In order to assess whether a national NHS-provided vaccination programme can be considered cost effective (or not), JCVI uses the methodology and criteria of the National Institute for Health and Clinical [sic] Excellence (NICE)."

NICE methodology includes the routine publication of the reports of any cost effectiveness studies it conducts or commissions to inform its guidance, on the same day as publication of its draft or final guidance. NICE procedures also mandate that evidence submitted to it for consideration by manufacturers should normally be published.

The JCVI's Code of Practice further states "Since 2009, the Committee’s aim has been to eventually publish all papers considered", qualifying this with "if not withheld in line with FOIA exemptions". It is stated that this would be on your gov.uk website.

The JCVI website currently lists only 9 publications other than minutes since November 2010. These are all statements made or advice given by the committee. None of them appear to include papers considered by the committee or subcommittees in making its recommendations (economic studies, manufacturers' submissions, etc.), although substantial lists of the evidence which has been considered are appended to the end of each set of minutes. When does the committee intend to fulfil its commitment to publish all papers considered? And will it be as robust as NICE in minimising the submissions which manufacturers can justify as genuinely confidential?

Regarding cost-effectiveness studies commissioned for JCVI, it should be noted that the excuse that publication of a report by JCVI may prejudice later academic publication of a version of that report is not an adequate justification for delaying publication - papers based on cost-effectiveness studies conducted for NICE guidelines are frequently later published in journals.

Many thanks for your consideration.

Yours faithfully,

Mr M Harker

FOI, The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation

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