NHS: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Anne Marie Morris Anne Marie Morris Conservative, Newton Abbot

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the overcharging of medicines to the NHS.

Photo of Anne Marie Morris Anne Marie Morris Conservative, Newton Abbot

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department will use the Health Service Products (Provision and Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2018 to prevent price inflation of medicines.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the statutory and voluntary schemes for branded medicines. Under those schemes, any price increase needs to be agreed by the Department. For generic medicines, the Department encourages competition between suppliers to drive prices down. This generally works well but there are instances where there is no or not enough competition and prices appear unreasonably high. Section 262 of the National Health Service Act 2006 enables the Secretary of State to limit the price of any medicine not covered by the voluntary scheme for branded medicines. The Department is preparing a public consultation on the use of this power for generic medicines. The Health Service Products (Provision and Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2018 support the powers in the National Health Service Act 2006 by enabling the Secretary of State to require suppliers to provide information about their products including information about the cost of manufacturing those products.

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