A repudiation of Muireann Quigley’s argument that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) values and assesses the worth of people’s lives; together with an alternative account of what it appears that NICE actually does, why these procedures are not unreasonable and some of the unresolved problems, especially when making interpersonal comparisons of health, which remain for NICE or, indeed, anyone seeking to determine the contents of the benefits bundles of a public health insurance programme such as the NHS. Some other ethically dubious propositions by Dr Quigley are also rejected.
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Competing interests: KC is a member of NICE’s Appraisals Committee and was a member of the working party that recommended NICE’s current methodology for economic appraisals. AJC was a member of the board of NICE that commissioned this work. Although no longer on the board, he now chairs the NICE Research and Development Advisory Committee.