Pharmacy: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to stop wholesalers artificially inflating prices to pharmacies during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access and the statutory scheme for branded medicines.

For unbranded generic medicines the Department relies on competition to keep 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.

Companies should not capitalise on the current COVID-19 situation by charging unjustifiably high prices for drugs and other supplies. Concerns about pricing abuse are a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority.

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