Increasingly, third party suppliers and consultancies are being relied upon in order to broker discussions and progress tendering for medicines in both primary and secondary care. It is also important to note that tendering in primary care is not permitted under the current PPRS pricing system, which states: ‘The UK health departments do not support additional or alternative initiatives by health authorities in respect of the pricing of such supplies [branded prescription medicines] in primary care.’
Stephen Whitehead said:
"Brokers are draining money from the healthcare system – in the long term they will save the NHS far less than they will cost, and they are a huge drain on funds for the pharmaceutical industry too. Not only is the money lost to brokers eating into medical research funding by the industry, but brokers are also a barrier to the industry-NHS partnerships and the joint working relationships that will lead to greater NHS savings.
"And the problem goes beyond finances too. The industry and the NHS need to work together more and more, so direct communication between us key. We need to ensure that we strengthen our relationships, and it is difficult to do that if we communicate though middle-men."
The ABPI recently updated its policy on Tendering and Brokerage.
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Notes to editors
The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. Our members supply 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing over two-thirds of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.