The UK is facing a new problem with drug prices
- by admin
The UK’s drug prices have risen sharply in recent years and there are concerns that the trend is being replicated in other countries.
In an attempt to rein in drug prices, the Government has unveiled the first ever ‘Optima Management Group’ to help manage and monitor drug prices.
The new initiative will see the Government’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) work with drug companies to develop cost-reduction strategies.
A report released on Monday revealed that the average price of a drug in the UK rose from $10,200 in 2013 to $12,500 in 2017.
Drug costs have risen by 5% to $6.8bn since 2014, and the average UK price for a drug rose by 9.7% from 2013 to 2017.
The report also found that the price of medicines in England and Wales rose by 16.6% from 2017 to 2020, while the price in Scotland and Wales increased by 7.8% and 8.1% respectively.
The average cost of a medication was $7,964 in 2017, up from $6,913 in 2013.
But experts warn that drug costs have not been driven down by changes in supply and demand.
“There has been no reduction in the price at the retail level, and there is still a significant rise in the average cost for drugs that have a wide range of clinical uses,” said Dr Richard Gwynne, Director of the Health Policy Institute at the University of Cambridge.
“These drugs have been used in many clinical trials, which are vital for any new therapies to be successful.”
Drug pricing is a key area of policy debate as the Government attempts to reduce its deficit and cut its deficit over the next four years.
Mr Osborne said: “I am pleased to announce that the Optima Management Programme will create an independent, cost-neutral, management group to ensure the UK has the right drug pricing strategy in place, with the best possible incentive to keep prices low.”
The group will have the power to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies and the Government.
It will also oversee price control schemes in the private sector and in the public sector.
Dr Gwynnes said the group would be tasked with negotiating drug prices with the industry and with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the main drug benefit scheme.
Dr Glynne said the plan will also have the ability to negotiate the pricing of medicines with the NHS.
He said the Government was “working hard” to reduce the price gap between drugs and health care, with some pharmaceuticals offering discounts to patients.
One of the group’s key tasks will be to “monitor and assess price changes across the country” in order to identify opportunities to achieve cost savings.
The UK’s drug prices have risen sharply in recent years and there are concerns that the trend is being replicated…