• Stephen Whitehead

    Posted in category Opinion by Stephen Whitehead on 16/12/2011

    Pricing scheme negotiations pivotal to the future of our industry

​Today, I met with my colleagues from the pharmaceutical industry to discuss how we, together, will negotiate the next pricing scheme for medicines in the NHS.


We must get this right – the outcome of the negotiations for the next pricing scheme will be pivotal to the future of our industry. The ABPI is the Government recognised body negotiating the pricing of branded medicines on behalf of all pharmaceutical companies. The subjects we talked about will have a significant impact on the way we negotiate and, ultimately, the details of the next pricing scheme. 

The negotiations proper will not happen until much later in 2012, but we have now established some of the foundations on which to base our thinking and opened up debate about what matters most to industry. 

There are five points which I believe must shape our thinking and discussions as we make our first steps towards negotiations:

  • Firstly, the pharmaceutical industry is of huge value to the economy and the NHS. We drive growth and create jobs, while in the healthcare system our medicines improve patient health and generate savings by minimising expensive primary care costs.
  • Secondly, medical innovation is often a gradual, incremental process and our next pricing scheme must reward and recognise this process.
  • Thirdly, the link between the commercial environment and investment in the UK is crucial. The pharmaceutical industry must make sufficient return on their investment in order to develop new medicines. The Government recognised the importance of the commercial environment in their recent review of Life Sciences and realising this is a significant step in the right direction.
  • Fourthly, the cost of UK medicines is not high, and in fact we have some of the lowest costs in Europe.
  • Fifthly and finally, uptake of innovative medicines needs to be increased and we need to be careful that in designing a different pricing system we don’t make it more difficult for patients to get new treatments.

I would like these points to underpin our approach to the negotiations next year and I believe that today we have taken an important first step in shaping a better future for the development of new innovative medicines in the UK.

Stephen Whitehead

ABPI Chief Executive 

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