ANF Response to NICE Draft Guideline
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent organization, established by the British government in 1999. NICE reviews evidence and decides which treatments are to be made available (and paid for) by the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales but their guidance is considered by healthcare policy makers globally.
When NICE released their draft guidelines on treatment for low back pain and sciatica, they recommended a reversal of their 2009 decision to recommend acupuncture as an effective treatment for low back pain. They proposed that acupuncture should not be used for low back/sciatica because they believe the research does not definitively support that acupuncture works beyond “sham.” The ANF emphatically disagrees with this finding and helped lead an effort to pour over the NICE research methodology. When we did so, we found several outright reporting errors as well as illogical and even unethical thinking behind their rational for their findings. The following submission to NICE as a joint effort between the ANF and England’s Northern College of Acupuncture both of whom registered with NICE as stakeholder organizations. We await word from NICE if they will change their policy due to the substantial missteps in their procedures.