December 10, 2012 / 1:56 PM / 5 years ago

UK chooses doctor as new head of health cost watchdog

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Britain’s health ministry named a former practising doctor, David Haslam, as the preferred candidate to chair the country’s healthcare cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE on Monday.

Haslam will take over as chairman of the renamed National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) from Michael Rawlins, assuming he passes scrutiny by a committee of lawmakers.

Rawlins, who has chaired NICE since its creation in 1999, is due to step down in March 2013.

During his time at the helm of the agency, Rawlins has made NICE a powerful force in the pharmaceutical industry with its hard-nosed approach to deciding whether or not pricey new drugs should be used on the state health service.

Haslam, who already leads the NICE Evidence Accreditation Advisory Board, is the immediate past president of the British Medical Association.

NICE will change its official title from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence next year.

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