NHS to save almost £1bn on medicines

The UK government’s new plan will see the NHS save millions on its medicines bill

A new deal with the pharmaceutical industry is expected to save the NHS around £930m on medicines.

The UK government and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have reached a final agreement in the voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access, which will begin on 1 January 2019 and last for five years.

The scheme will place a two per cent cap on the growth in sales of branded medicines to the NHS, keeping bill growth predictable and affordable.

Pharmaceutical companies will repay the NHS for spending above the two per cent cap.

The scheme will see the newest and best-value medicines made available to patients on the NHS more quickly – up to six months quicker, in fact.

The agreement is also designed to ensure the UK remains an attractive hub for the life sciences sector.

Health minister, Lord O’Shaughnessy, said:

“The final deal is great news for patients and the NHS – the best and most affordable medicines will be available up to 6 months earlier and we will save almost a billion pounds next year which can be put back into other crucial services.

“It is a vote of confidence in our world-leading life sciences sector and outlines our commitment to support small and medium-sized business to bring their innovative treatments to the NHS.”

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the ABPI, added:

“It’s great that the full agreement is now confirmed – it is a commitment by the government and the NHS to work with us to support innovation for the benefit of patients. This means that people across the UK should see better and faster access to the most effective new medicines and vaccines.

“Under the scheme the NHS will have absolute certainty that the sales of branded medicines will not grow by more than two per cent in any of the next five years – or industry refunds the money. This is a significant contribution by pharmaceutical companies to support the NHS.”

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