Coronavirus: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th April 2020.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether generic drugs will (a) remain accessible and (b) not be increased in price during the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs in the event of any supply issues or significant increases in demand.

The Government does not set prices of generic medicines. Instead we rely on competition to drive prices down. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. In an international market this ensures that when demand is high and supply is low, prices in the United Kingdom can increase to help secure the availability of medicines for UK patients.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

The steps being taken to protect UK supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

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