Health Select Committee inquiry into public expenditure

​The ABPI welcomes the work of the Health Select Committee to examine public expenditure and the opportunity to comment on progress towards reaching the 4% year-on‐year efficiency gains required of the NHS by the ‘Nicholson Challenge’. It is particularly positive to see an emphasis on whether the NHS is succeeding in gaining more value from its budget rather than simply looking for cuts.


Industry recognises the pressure on the NHS budget and sensitivities around the costs of treatment. Companies have been working closely with the NHS at both national and local level to identify how clinicians can ensure that patients receive the optimum care available whilst remaining cost effective. The pharmaceutical industry has an important role in helping the Department of Health and the NHS to identify good practice in the use of medicine.

Cost‐effective medicines can be of value in improving patient outcomes; for example, around 4 million people now receive statins, saving an estimated 10,000 lives every year1. As well as the positive impact on patients’ lives, medicines should be viewed as part of the solution to the challenges facing the NHS. Effective use of medicines can help to manage and reduce healthcare costs through innovation in the patient pathway, such as helping patients to manage long‐term conditions outside secondary care settings.

The use of medicines, like any part of the NHS budget, should be considered carefully as part of the Nicholson Challenge. However, the ABPI is keen to ensure that any changes to the use of medicines are the result of dialogue; it is important that medicines are seen as part of the solution and should not be considered in isolation. There is a valuable opportunity to build upon existing partnerships between industry, the Department of Health and the NHS to deliver patient pathways that deliver the best outcomes for patients, the NHS and the UK life sciences sector.

We would also be concerned should the Nicholson Challenge be used to put in place additional local barriers to the introduction or use of those medicines approved by NICE and, therefore, deemed cost‐effective for use in the NHS.

1. Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework Progress Report 2008

Further information

Download the ABPI's full submission to the Health Select Committee inquiry in public expenditure (PDF, 215KB)

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