£1 billion savings on NHS medicines in 2019

The NHS is expected to save around £930 million on its medicines bill across the UK under a new deal agreed with the pharmaceutical industry.

The 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 in January next year and last for five years.

The scheme is designed to keep growth in the branded medicine bill predictable and affordable by placing a two per cent cap on the growth in sales of branded medicines to the NHS. As such, the following savings are predicted for the NHS medicines bill in 2019: England: £744 million; Scotland: £93 million; Wales: £56 million; and Northern Ireland: £37 million.

The scheme will also see the newest and best-value medicines made available to patients on the NHS more quickly through: earlier identification of the most promising medicines being developed; earlier commercial discussions with industry; and faster assessments of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of new medicines by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

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 six 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.”

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