Today we launched a series of ten key facts about how much the NHS spends on medicines (the medicines bill).
Our facts have been brought together to help us increase the degree of transparency and counter the often accepted myths and exaggeration in this area, while also highlighting where the UK is succeeding and where we can improve going forward.
It is clear to us that the UK’s medicines bill is cost efficient; our medicines bill is proportionately lower than our comparator countries. However, looking at cost alone doesn’t show the big picture - to do this a medicine’s overall value has to be considered before its cost. This means considering the wider benefits of any medicine. For example, new medicines often:
It is often the case that new medicines (those introduced within the last five years) offer better overall value. Prescribing the best value medicines can help enable patients while having an overall positive effect on the UK’s economy and the NHS spend.
Although new medicines are usually more expensive, in many cases they will be more effective treatments and will also cause fewer side effects – improving a patient’s quality of life while saving the NHS money in the long run. The uptake of these medicines is currently far too slow, which can have a negative impact on both patients and the overall NHS spend.
The Government, NHS and our industry must all work together to ensure that we are doing all we can to ensure that UK patients are receiving the best possible care, within the confines of a realistic and workable budget.