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12.07.16

Health Committee raises alarm over drug pricing

The cost of some medicines to the NHS has radically increased after they were recategorised as generic medicines, the Health Select Committee has warned.

Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the Health Select Committee, wrote to health secretary Jeremy Hunt last month, in a letter published today, after an investigation by The Times newspaper found that a pharmaceutical company was able to increase the price of drugs by recategorising brand medications as generic drugs.

Generic drugs aren’t subject to price controls by the Department of Health and, according to The Times, the recategorisation cost the NHS over £10m.

Wollaston wrote: “I am deeply concerned about the financial impact of this practice on the NHS. At a time when many NHS organisations are facing significant financial challenges practices that artificially inflate drug prices put a significant additional strain on resources.

“I am also extremely concerned that the actions of the pharmaceutical company in question have been uncovered by a newspaper investigation rather than being identified and acted upon by regulators.”

The King’s Fund warned yesterday that the funding constraints the NHS is currently facing are so severe that the government may have to abandon key performance targets and the seven-day NHS initiative in order to balance the service’s finances.

Hunt has asked the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate the company, which Wollaston said was a “welcome step.”

However, she warned that the issue could go further than a single company, saying: “It is worrying that such apparent abuses have been going undetected and that the scale of the issue and the full cost to the NHS is unknown.”

She also asked Hunt how the government would tackle rises in medicine prices in the future.

Hunt replied that the cost of medicines had to be balanced against the importance of meeting individual treatment needs.

He also said that he is considering putting measures in place to routinely monitor significant price increases for generic medicines.

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Comments

Micro Doc   12/07/2016 at 20:10

If you think test Jeremy 'unt is going to act on this, I am speechless. He is the man who has co-authored a book explaining how to dismantle NHS. I won't be surprised if hung is hand in glove with these companies. I might trust a tarantula, not him.

Micro Doc   13/07/2016 at 05:51

If you think test Jeremy 'unt is going to act on this, I am speechless. He is the man who has co-authored a book explaining how to dismantle NHS. I won't be surprised if hung is hand in glove with these companies. I might trust a tarantula, not him.

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