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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 15 November 2016

Parliament hears workload implications of ‘Big Brother’ margins Bill

15 November 2016, Dispensing Doctors Association, Ailsa Colquhoun

 

The workload implications for dispensing GP’s under the Health Service Medical Supply (Costs) Bill has been raised by Labour MP, Barbara Keeley. During the second reading of the Bill on 24 October 2016 she explained that dispensing GP’s do not have large teams of administrative staff. She said that they are not equipped to respond to requests for information on the prices paid for purchasing medicines from the Government. Philip Dunne, The Minister for Health, said that the Bill would enable the Government to calculate the reimbursement arrangements for community pharmacies and dispensing GP’s more accurately. The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, added that the Bill will also allow the Government to identify if companies are making excessive profits at the expense of the NHS. He said that the Government cannot allow this practice to continue unchallenged.

 

The Bill’s progress can be viewed here

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

House of Commons Questions, NHS: Drugs, 14 November 2016

Health

 

Jim Shannon: What recent assessment his Department has made of the effect on the level of the NHS budget of changes in the prices of drugs.

 

Department of Health

 

Nicola Blackwood:

For unbranded generic medicines the Department relies on competition in the market to keep prices down. Prices therefore reflect supply and demand and differ from one day to the other, from customer to customer and are volume dependent. Therefore, no such assessment has been made.

 

Branded medicines are the subject of price control under the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) and statutory scheme. Except in exceptional circumstances, the Department does not allow increases to the National Health Service list price under these schemes. Where price increases were agreed under the PPRS, the Department’s best estimate of additional cost was approximately £550,000 in 2015.

 

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House of Commons Questions, NHS: Drugs, 14 November 2016

Health

 

Mr. Virendra Sharma: What information on the costs of (a) research and development, (b) marketing and (c) distribution his Department requires when negotiating the price of medicines.

 

Department of Health

 

Nicola Blackwood:

The National Health Service list prices of licensed branded medicines are controlled by either the voluntary 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) or the statutory scheme. Companies in the PPRS are not required to routinely provide such information when launching new medicines. However, the Department may request actual and forecast information relating to the United Kingdom market under these cost headings if it is deemed necessary to reach an agreement on price. Under the statutory scheme, the Secretary of State may have regard to, among other things, the cost of research into, and development of, the product for which a price is requested.

 

All pharmaceutical companies are required to provide actual and forecast information for these cost headings if requesting a price increase on an existing medicine.

 

The Department does not control the selling price of generic medicines; instead it relies on competition and the retained margin incentive for dispensing contractors to drive down prices, therefore this information is not required from manufacturers before placing a generic product on the market.

 

Full Coverage

 

Parliament hears workload implications of ‘Big Brother’ margins Bill

15 November 2016, Dispensing Doctors Association, Ailsa Colquhoun

 

The workload implications of the Health Services Costs Bill have been raised in Parliament.

 

During the second reading of the Bill, Barbara Keeley Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South, said: “I would find it unusual if our hard-pressed… dispensing GPs would welcome the additional work required of them to provide and disclose information to the Government.

 

She added: “They do not have teams of administrative staff who can respond to demands for information, and the likelihood is that the NHS would insist on information being provided in a specific format.”

 

Defending the Bill, which gives Government powers to request information from dispensing GPs and pharmacists relating to the prices paid for purchasing medicines, health minister Philip Dunne said: “Putting existing voluntary provision of information regarding medicines on a statutory footing will enable the Government to set more accurately and fairly the reimbursement arrangements for community pharmacies and dispensing GPs.”

 

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt added that it would help the Government to identify where companies were making excessive profits at the expense of the NHS. A further action would be to close the loophole through which companies which are part of the current voluntary pharmaceutical price regulation scheme—the PPRS—engage in parallel-importing through European subsidiaries.

 

Mr Hunt explained: “We rely on competition in the market to keep the prices of these drugs down. That generally works well and has, in combination with high levels of generic prescribing, led to significant savings. However, we are aware of some instances where there is no competition to keep prices down, and companies have raised their prices to what looks like an unreasonable and unjustifiable level… companies appear to have made it their business model to purchase off-patent medicines for which there are no competitor products. They then exploit a monopoly position to raise prices. We cannot allow this practice to continue unchallenged.”

 

Welsh and Scottish dispensing GPs are also expected to be subject to the Bill’s provisions, if it is passed.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 15 November 2016

From Factory to Pharmacy

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