As reported on the Daily Telegraph website, a report from the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), stated that Britain spends less than half that of Greece, Portugal and Spain on medicines. As a proportion of gross domestic product Britain spends one per cent on medicines, compared with 2.32 per cent in Greece, 2.17 per cent in Portugal and 2.0 per cent in France.
Not only that, but prices of branded medicines in Britain have gone from being some of the highest in Europe in 2004 to the lowest last year. Commercial Director of ABPI, David Fisher, stated, “What we are talking about here is the breakthrough medicines which make huge differences to people’s lives. Prices in the UK are less than in any other comparative European country, yet the UK Government, via NICE, continues to tell patients we can’t afford new medicines. I think patients, many of whom have paid into the healthcare pot for many years, should be asking hard questions about why they are not being allowed to get their investment back.” He added: “Spending by GDP provides an indication of what is affordable. No matter what measure you use, the UK is the poor man of Europe. Patients in the UK deserve better.”
The report also highlighted the great contribution the pharmaceutical industry has made to the UK economy. “The UK is home to a world-class pharmaceutical industry, which makes significant contributions not only to developing new medicines and to the economy, but also to the UK research capacity within and beyond the NHS,” the Department tells Parliament, adding “the UK-based pharmaceutical industry remains among the most innovative, with 16 of the world’s top-selling 75 medicines discovered and developed in the UK, more than in any other country except for the USA.”