Liothyronine

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 30th January 2018.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Leader of the Liberal Democrats

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the money accrued to the public purse in relation to liothyronine under the (a) the voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme and (b) the statutory scheme; and when those payments were made.

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Leader of the Liberal Democrats

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether he plans to reduce the cost of liothyronine by procuring the drug from foreign suppliers; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme and the statutory scheme for branded medicines. Liothyronine is an unbranded generic medicine. For unbranded generic medicines, the Department encourages competition between suppliers to keep prices down. In primary care, community pharmacies are incentivised to source products at the lowest possible cost and in secondary care, competitive tenders ensure value-for-money to the National Health Service.

Liothyronine is currently the subject of an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, which has provisionally found that the single supplier of the product abused its dominant position to overcharge the NHS by millions for liothyronine tablets. A provisional decision does not necessarily lead to an infringement decision. Where companies have breached competition law, the Department will seek damages and invest that money back into the NHS.

Medicines legislation requires that only medicines licensed for use in the United Kingdom can be marketed in the UK.

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