Companies can’t just pick a price for a medicine and there are controls in place to give NHS Scotland predictability on its medicines budget.
The Voluntary Pricing and Access Scheme, or ‘VPAS’, is a five-year agreement between the pharmaceutical industry, the Government and the NHS which controls spending on new medicine.
It works by making sure the branded medicines bill will not grow by more than 2% in any of the next 5 years, with anything over this rebated to the Scottish Government.
Pharmaceutical companies have already given over £250 million to the NHS through a ring-fenced fund via the Scottish Government.
The voluntary agreement works alongside the Scottish Medicines Consortium. The SMC advises NHS Scotland on whether a new medicine is cost effective and does this by comparing it with medicines already being used and the likely number of patients set to benefit.
If the new treatment is deemed to be too expensive, compared with the benefits it brings, it is not recommended for use.
When pricing a medicine, companies need to take into account the costs of research and development – not just for the successful medicine but also for the many which have failed.
We want to ensure patients in Scotland continue to access the latest new medicines. It is not only about protecting the checks and balances in place today, but making sure Scotland is ready for the future.
Making the most of healthcare care data can improve clinician and patient decision making, reduce waste and ensure that new medicines make their way to patients faster.
We’re proud to be delivering for the health and economy of Scotland. The pharmaceutical industry delivers £2.7 billion of GVA to the Scottish economy, supporting 5,000 jobs directly and thousands more in the supply chain across the whole country.