To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients recommended the drug Harvoni by medical practitioners who have been denied access to the drug on grounds of affordability; and if he will make a statement.
We are informed by NHS England that in order to ensure the best use of public funds, the National Health Service has used the procurement process to ensure that optimal value for money is achieved when purchasing drugs, which are used in secondary care.
The NHS is working to ensure consistent use of clinically-appropriate lowest acquisition cost drugs. This has encouraged competitive pricing in return for market share. This process has allowed for an increase in the number of patients being cured within the available resources, with in excess of 30,000 patients with hepatitis C treated so far. The NHS is currently undertaking a long-term strategic procurement to increase treatment and improve value further.
NHS England’s Commercial Medicines Unit’s six-monthly tenders, together with innovative approaches which mean the NHS is given a refund if a course of treatment does not result in cure, have succeeded in delivering reduced price per patient for all direct acting antiviral Hepatitis C drugs, such as Harvoni (ledipasvir-sofosbuvir).
The Department has made no such estimate of the number of patients recommended the drug Harvoni by medical practitioners who have been denied access on the grounds of affordability.