Pharmacist scanning barcode of medicine drug

Government and NHS enter talks for new medicine pricing scheme

With the incumbent voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access (VPAS) set to expire at the end of the year, the Government and NHS England have today opened up negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry for its successor scheme.

As part of the opening talks, the Government and NHS England will collaborate with the pharmaceutical industry – which is being represented by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry – to establish a common aim of working towards a symbiotic arrangement that betters health outcomes for patients, increases financial sustainability for the NHS, and sparks economic growth for the UK.

Some of the things the Department of Health and Social Care say it is prioritising for the new deal include:

  • Ensuring rapid access to new clinical and cost-effect medicines to NHS patients;
  • Tackling unjustified inequities in medicines across the UK;
  • Supporting the country’s life sciences sector;
  • Positioning the UK as an attractive place to invest;
  • Delivering value for money for the taxpayer and keeping the prices of branded medicines affordable for the NHS.

Will Quince MP, Minister for Health and Secondary Care, said: “These negotiations will ensure a new scheme continues to deliver value for money by providing significant savings for our health services, securing access to innovative lifesaving drugs for NHS patients, and helping to reduce waiting times – one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities.

“The current voluntary scheme supports investment in NHS services and saves billions of pounds for the NHS, while also promoting innovations and a successful life sciences sector. It’s vitally important that the successor to the current scheme delivers for the taxpayer, patients, the NHS, and life sciences.”

The news comes after the Government indicated the current VPAS scheme will have saved the NHS £7bn by the end of 2023 after being originally introduced in 2019. Sir Hugh Taylor has been appointment by the Government to preside over the talks for the new deal.

He said: “The future Voluntary Scheme must continue to benefit the NHS and give its patients access to the best medicines, while supporting our life sciences sector. I’m looking forward to reaching an agreement which not only benefits the NHS but will also encourage the pharmaceutical sector to continue investing in the UK.”

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