Health: Hepatitis C - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:21 am on 28th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health 11:21 am, 28th April 2016

I feel almost as if we are living on a different planet—of course there are going to be budgetary constraints. Some of these new drugs are hugely expensive. We have a good scheme—the PPRS scheme that the noble Lord referred to—which enables us to get rebates from big pharma, but some of these new drugs are extremely expensive. I cannot say what the exact cost is of this interferon-free treatment for hepatitis C, but I can tell the House that it is many tens of thousands of pounds for a treatment. There are 220,000 people who could benefit from this treatment, according to the noble Lord, Lord Patel—that means many billions of pounds. If we spend many billions on this particular drug, there are many billions that we will not be able to spend on mental health or in other parts of the NHS.