Prices of branded medicines are controlled through the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access and equivalent statutory scheme. There are no controls on prices of generic medicines. Instead, we rely on competition to drive prices down which has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe. In some instances, where there is no competition, some very large price increases have been observed. The Competition and Markets Authority has a number of live investigations into excessive prices of generic medicines.
The Department also has powers in the National Health Service Act 2006 to control the prices of NHS medicines. Those powers were updated in 2017 in respect of generic medicines and data provision. The Department has been considering proposals for ways to address high prices of generic medicines, on which it expects to consult.