The ABPI broadly welcomes Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's proposal to publish indicative medicines cost to the NHS on packs of all medicines costing more than £20.
Commenting on the proposal made in a speech at the Local Government Association's national conference today, Alison Clough, ABPI Acting CEO and Executive Director – Commercial UK, said: "We broadly welcome a scheme to ensure that patients and the public are more aware and informed of the cost of health care in the UK.
"Medicines are the most common therapeutic intervention in health care and often prevent or reduce more costly interventions, yet branded, prescription medicines account for less than 10% of the total NHS expenditure. Under a scheme such as this patients will be able to see the cost of the medicines they receive and understand the value of their treatment compared to other NHS expenditure. It is worth noting that these medicines account for less than 10% of all medicines prescribed. Many prescription medicines cost less than £10 and in order for a scheme such as this to deliver full transparency for patients the costs of all medicines should be made public as well as the costs for other treatments and services in the NHS. This would show the value of medicines, compared to other interventions for the benefit they bring.
"Whilst it is fair to say that branded, prescription medicines are funded by the UK taxpayer, it must be noted that this funding is considerably supplemented by the pharmaceutical industry. In order to ensure that patients can access new innovative medicines, the pharmaceutical industry agreed to a five-year medicines pricing deal to underwrite the growth in the branded medicines bill within agreed boundaries, from 2014. Last year alone the pharmaceutical industry paid a total of £310 million to the Department of Health under the deal and it is anticipating payments in excess of £800 million for 2015. The NHS needs to ensure that this money allows clinicians to prescribe the medicines that they believe are right for their patients without undue focus on cost and we welcome a scheme, such as this, which should demonstrate the value of medicines compared to other more expensive forms of treatment."
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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