As reported by Reuters, The UK is currently one of the only markets in the world in which pharmaceutical companies are free to set prices for their drugs – but this could soon be a thing of the past.
At the moment, the UK Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) regulates profits, not prices on sales to the NHS, whilst the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) assesses if drugs are cost effective.
However, this is set to change with the introduction of the ‘Programme for Government’ document indicating that the coalition would ‘reform NICE and move to a system of value-based pricing’. This would lead to changes in the way that drug prices are determined.
In her speech, Queen Elizabeth stated, “We will ensure everyone, including cancer patients, have better access to drugs and innovative treatments on the NHS. We will do this by reforming the way drug companies are paid for NHS medicines.”
The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry has stated that it will be keeping an open mind ahead of talks with the government.
“Valued-based pricing is one way of doing it,” said spokesman Richard Ley. “We are not opposed to the principle. It is a question of how it is achieved to get it right.”
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