Government drugs deal ‘to save NHS £930m a year’

27 Nov 18

The government has struck a deal with the pharmaceutical industry, which is expected to cut the NHS’ medicine bill by £930m next year.

The scheme agreed with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the leading pharmaceutical industry body, is designed to enable the NHS to get better value for money, the Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement on Friday.

It should also enable a faster assessment of the cost-effectiveness of all new medicines, getting them into use more quickly, the government added.

The voluntary scheme is also designed to keep growth in the medicine bill more predictable and affordable.

This means there will be a 2% cap on the growth in sales of branded medicines to the NHS.

Pharmaceutical companies will repay the NHS for spending above the cap, the department said.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “Cutting-edge and best value medicines will be fast-tracked and we will cut our medicines bill by £930 million next year following tough but constructive negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry – money we can reinvest into better NHS services, alongside the NHS long-term plan.”

The deal, which will come into effect from January 2019 after the final details have been agreed, also includes measures to keep the cost of medicines to the NHS affordable, such as simplifying price controls and faster and more flexible commercial discussions between pharmaceutical companies and the NHS.

The deal is expected to be agreed in full shortly and will replace the current Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation Scheme, which expires on 31 December.

The ABPI represents companies that supply more than 80% of all branded medicines used by the NHS. It is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of branded pharmaceutical companies, including on the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.

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