UK Negotiates New Scheme for Medicines Pricing and Access

The government of the UK, NHS England, as well as the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry have gone on to open new negotiations for a novel voluntary scheme when it comes to branded medicine pricing and access.

As per a May 4 press release by the government, these negotiations look to create a novel scheme that can help in furthering the development of cost-effective as well as innovative medicines and also support the economic growth of the UK, besides contributing financially to a sustainable NHS. These negotiations went on to begin after the government held a debate pertaining to the matter on May 3.

The January 2019 scheme went on to keep the expenditure of the NHS on medicines that are branded within a limit that was agreed, which elevated by 2% per year between 2018 and 2023. So as to keep this within the limits, the pharma companies have gone on to pay rebates when it comes to sales back to the NHS across all the expenditures over and above the capped limit. Companies that opted not to take part in the voluntary scheme have to take part in a statutory scheme.

Both schemes are designed to complement each other and make up the total medicine costs by wanting pharma companies to make clawback payments.

As per a statement released by ABPI, there were concerns raised that the present voluntary scheme may not gel with the purpose in a post-pandemic scenario. Because of the high demand from the NHS, payments went on to rise quite significantly, much above historic levels, thereby having a major effect on the life sciences sector in the UK. In recent years, medical sales have rapidly grown, and the scheme has also adjusted to the growth witnessed. As per the strategy report, which is prepared by the public affairs consultancy, this has gone on to elevate the rate of payment from 5.1% in 2021 to 15% in 2022 and recently to 26.5% this year.

Will Quince, the health minister of the UK, opined the negotiations will assure that the new scheme continues to give out value for money by way of providing significant savings when it comes to health services, getting access to novel and lifesaving medicines for NHS patients, and also aiding in the reduction of waiting times, which is one of the Prime Minister’s 5 priorities.

The revised voluntary scheme will float on January 1, 2024, and will replace the current scheme, which ends on December 31st this year. The chief executive of ABPI opined that working in tandem, they can all push UK sciences and also create conditions so as to deliver their rightful value when it comes to the country’s health, productivity, and prosperity.