Northern Ireland committed in 2013 to follow the recommendations made by the National Institute for Health and care Excellence (NICE) in England;
Where NICE has not assessed a medicine or technology Northern Ireland may follow the recommendations of the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC). It is the responsibility of Health and Social Care (HSC) organisations, under the statutory duty of quality as specified in Article 34 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) order 2003, to put in place the necessary systems, as part of their clinical and social care governance arrangements, for implementing NICE guidance.
There are 5 local commissioning groups (LCGs) in Northern Ireland, each responsible for the commission of health and social care by addressing the care needs of their local population.
A doctor can apply for an Individual Funding Request (IFR) on behalf of a patient for treatments not normally funded or commissioned with Northern Ireland. The majority of these requests are for a specialist medicine. The funding requests can only be approved by the HSC Board in cases where exceptional clinical circumstances are identified.
Northern Ireland introduced a formulary for primary care medicines in 2012. The scope of the NI Formulary is to provide advice on first and second choice medicines. Details of the Northern Ireland formulary, including the processes for inclusion of medicines, can be found here: