The NHS, under pressure to make savings, has resorted to slashing the budget on new medicines as a short term measure to meet spending targets. Cutting down on the newest medicines is one of a number of crude ways in which savings have been achieved to date but there is increasing fear that it is hampering the treatment of people in the NHS.

 

Pharmaceutical leaders at their annual conference have today called on newly installed decision makers in the NHS to make a break with the past, stop cutting and start investing in innovative life-saving and life-changing medicines. New NHS leaders are being called on to focus on making wholesale changes to providing healthcare that will see people treated much more at home and far less in hospital.

Spending on new medicines, which is set to rise by just 1.3 per cent annually until 2015, is falling in real terms as NHS spend increases by 2.5 per cent a year over the same period.1 Inflation is also highly likely to outstrip spending on new medicines over the next three years.

With new data showing how little is spent in total on medicines in the UK2 compared with developed countries, there are fresh calls for further investment in medicine:

  • 74p per head of population per day in UK
  • 99p per head of population per day in Italy
  • £1.04 per head of population per day in Spain
  • £1.11 per head of population per day in Germany
  • £1.40 per head of population per day in France
  • £1.70 per head of population per day in Japan
  • £2.21 per head of population per day in USA

On new medicines launched in the last five years3, the picture is no better:

  • 7p per head of population per day in UK
  • 14p per head of population per day in Italy
  • 21p per head of population per day in Spain
  • 21p per head of population per day in Germany
  • 22p per head of population per day in France
  • 30p per head of population per day in Japan
  • 36p per head of population per day in USA

Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, said:

"I want to make a personal plea to the newly appointed leaders of the NHS to make a break with the past and begin wholesale changes to the way people are cared for in the UK. Our healthcare system needs to focus much more on caring for patients in their own homes and much less on treatment in expensive hospitals. Investing in new, innovative medicines will be absolutely key to this, and there will significant rewards if we get this right – improving patient’s quality of life and ensuring the financial sustainability of the NHS.

"The numbers are striking. By 2015, the new medicines which are being launched now will make up just 2 per cent of the entire medicines budget and yet it is these treatments which are able to transform the way many diseases are treated. It is particularly frustrating that we still struggle to get these new medicines to patients when we also consider that the UK has amongst the lowest prices in Europe and the NHS will save over a billion pounds every year until 2015 as medicines lose their patent and are prescribed generically.”

Media enquiries

ABPI Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 1410
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Email: pressoffice@abpi.org.uk 

Notes to editors

  1. ABPI and Office of Health Economics UK NHS medicines bill projection 2012 – 2015, 2012
  2. Office of Health Economics calculations based on Market Statistics IMS World Review, 2012 Edition

    Bank of England: www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/Pages/default.aspx

    UN population: http://esa.un.org/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm

    England Wales NI Scotland populations: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/npp/national-population-projections/2010-based-projections/sum-2010-based-national-population-projections.html
  3. Office of Health Economics calculations based on Market Statistics IMS World Review, 2012 Edition

    Bank of England: www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/Pages/default.aspx

    UN population: http://esa.un.org/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm

    England Wales NI Scotland populations: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/npp/national-population-projections/2010-based-projections/sum-2010-based-national-population-projections.html
  4. The ABPI’s annual conference is being held in central London on Thursday 25 April. This year’s conference will provide a 360° tour of the new NHS and discuss how the changing environment will affect clinicians, decision makers, charities and the pharmaceutical industry.
  5. 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.
 
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