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NHS: Drugs

Department of Health written question – answered on 31st July 2017.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord O'Shaughnessy on 19 July (HL914), what plans they have to reduce the costs to the NHS of the supply of drugs such as Apomorphine that are long out of patent and simple and cheap to manufacture; and what consideration they have given to increasing supplies of such drugs by seeking suppliers who will invest in regulatory approvals in exchange for a fixed-price, fixed-term contract.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The cost of branded medicines to the National Health Service is controlled by the voluntary pharmaceutical price regulation scheme or the statutory medicines price regulation scheme. Often when patents expire, generic versions enter the market and, as a result of competition, prices often go down.

In primary care, the community pharmacy contractual framework provides an incentive for pharmacies to get the best medicines prices; in secondary care, a system of central tenders delivers similar levels of savings. In general, the system works well – the United Kingdom has the lowest generic prices across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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