The UK Government, via the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, has announced that it will be renegotiating the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) with the pharmaceutical industry over the coming months.
In February 2007, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a report that recommended a patient-focussed, value-based pricing scheme to replace the existing mechanism of reimbursement for branded drugs.
In the full response document the government point out the PPRS has been effective in providing a stable pricing system and has supported a strong pharmaceutical industry over the last 50 years. However, they also agree with the OFT that better mechanisms are required to deliver fair prices and value for money for the NHS.
The new scheme will focus upon:
- Delivering value for money
- Encouraging and rewarding innovation
- Assisting the uptake of new medicines
- Providing stability, sustainability and predictability
The ultimate aim of the new scheme will be to ensure that "NHS patients will get the drugs they need at a fair price to the public purse and the pharmaceutical industry will continue to be encouraged to develop important new medicines".
Action: Clinicians can expect changes to the pricing system used for branded medicines in the coming months. How these changes will affect the cost of prescribing is currently unknown but is worth monitoring for the budget concious, in the meantime, preferential use of generic drugs will help to contain costs.
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