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07.08.18

Proposed drugs legislation changes could threaten Stevens’ £300m savings drive

The government’s proposed changes to medicines legislation could threaten Simon Stevens’ objective of saving £300m over the next three years and keep manufacturers from launching products, pharma bosses have said.

In response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation on changes to the statutory scheme to control the costs of branded medicine, Warwick Smith, the director general of the British Generic Manufacturers Association and the British Biosimilars Association, argued the plans are illogical.

“It makes no sense for the government to intervene in pricing when competition or tenders already very effectively control prices of branded generics and biosimilars,” he said.

“In particular, the consultation appears significantly to underestimate the savings already delivered by biosimilars where we have seen price reductions of more than 80% for some products.

Smith argued that it is therefore wrong to include products which are subject to competition via tendering in the statutory scheme or the PPRS, and also apply an additional rebate of up to 25%.

“These proposed changes will significantly impact biosimilars and manufacturers may be unable to launch products as a consequence,” he continued. “This could also impact the potential patient benefits of these medicines and threaten Simon Stevens’ objective of £300m of savings in the next three years.”

The consultation, which closes on 18 September, was designed to ensure that the overall growth of branded medicines sales made to the NHS by pharma manufacturers in the statutory medicines pricing scheme remains at a “sustainable level.”

It is seeking views on the methodology for forecasting expected future meds growth; changes to the method of calculating a payment percentage, based on allowed growth rates; and minor technical changes to the products in scope of payment. To take part, click here.

The NIHR has recently written for NHE about the value of biosimilars in accelerate treatment access and driving huge cost savings across the NHS.

Elsewhere, the issue of medicines has come to the limelight after health secretary Matt Hancock claimed the government will “stockpile” vital drugs in case of a no-deal Brexit to prevent supply shortages.

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