HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 7 December 2015

NPA and readers reject push for online pharmacy services

C&D, James Waldron, 4 December 2015

Chemist and Druggist’s readers in cooperation with the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) denounce the government’ call for online and click-and-collect services in policy document published by the Treasury on Monday 30 November. The NPA stated that the model was “unevidenced” and the organisation will communicate its concerns to the government.


UK paying less for cancer drugs than other EU countries

PharmaTimes, George Underwood, 4 December 2015

PharmaTimes reports on the study published by The Lancet Oncology which finds that the UK pays on average less than other European countries for cancer drugs. The research highlights that price differences range from 28 to 388%. Dr. Sabine Volger, lead author of the study, adds that the evidence should encourage policy-makers to tackle high prices and ensure more transparency.

The ABPI also responded to the Lancet Oncology article on cancer drugs pricing


Drug Tariff listing changes

PSNC, 4 December 2015

Changes to the Drug Tariff impact on reimbursement so it’s important to take note when amendments are made to product listings. Below are some changes which took effect recently.

Part VIIIB change to Chloral hydrate listing

Chloral hydrate 500mg/5ml oral solution has been added to Part VIIIB of the November Drug Tariff and the listing for the Chloral mixture has been removed in line with the BP nomenclature change.

Please note that any prescription for Chloral hydrate 500mg/5ml mixture will be reimbursed at the Part VIIIB listed price for the oral solution as of the November prescription bundle.

Did you know the listing for Benzoyl peroxide 5% / Clindamycin 1% gel has changed?

The pack sizes 25g and 50g of Benzoyl peroxide 5% / Clindamycin 1% gel have been removed from the Drug Tariff and replaced with 30g and 60g.

For generically written prescriptions, you will be paid based on the Drug Tariff listed price, but, for prescriptions written by brand, ensure you dispense the pack size written on the prescription and endorse it.

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UK paying less for cancer drugs than other EU countries

PharmaTimes, George Underwood, 4 December 2015

The UK is paying less for new cancer drugs than most other countries in Europe, a new report has found.

The study in The Lancet Oncology also reveals that the prices of such drugs vary widely – from 28 percent to 388 percent – between high-income European countries, Australia, and New Zealand.

The study looked at 31 originator (under patent) drugs and found that overall the UK and Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Spain, and Portugal pay the lowest average unit manufacturer prices for them, whereas Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany pay the highest prices.

“Public payers in Germany are paying 223 percent more in terms of official prices for interferon alfa 2b for melanoma and leukaemia treatment than those in Greece,” says lead author Dr Sabine Vogler from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies. “For gefitinib to treat non-small-lung cancer, the price in Germany is 172 percent higher than in New Zealand.”

The research also highlighted the overall high prices of new cancer treatments in Europe. None of the 31 drugs reviewed had a unit price lower than €10. Almost a quarter (twenty-three percent) had an average unit price higher than €1000. Four drugs (thirteen percent) had an average price between €250 and €500; for two drugs (six percent) it was between €500 and €1000.

The difference between the prices of drugs between the highest and lowest priced countries ranged from 28 percent to 50 percent for a third of the drugs sampled, between 50 percent and 100 percent for half of the drugs, and between 100 percent and 200 percent for three drugs (ten percent).

A particular problem noted by the authors is that patient access discounts on these prices – which are increasingly used to gain approval in the UK and some other countries – are usually confidential, meaning that other countries risk overpaying as they can only use the official undiscounted prices as a benchmark.

Volger adds: “We hope that our findings will provide concrete evidence for policymakers to take action to address high prices and ensure more transparency in cancer drug pricing so that costs and access to new drugs does not depend on where a patient lives.”


ABPI response to the Lancet Oncology article on cancer drugs pricing

ABPI Statement, 4 December 2015

“The study is further evidence that newer medicines are at prices which are affordable in the UK, and it acknowledges the difference between the often quoted ‘list price’ and the lower prices actually paid for medicines by the NHS.” said David Watson, Director – Pricing and Reimbursement at ABPI.

“This suggests that the UK is getting a fair deal with regards to medicines pricing and that the NHS can be assured that it is getting good value for money”.

“In addition the UK also has the benefit of a unique scheme where the pharmaceutical industry pays hundreds of millions of pounds back to the Government each year; money which is meant to go back into supporting the cost of medicines in the NHS.    ​

“Despite this we know patients are still not getting access to some new and innovative medicines.  The UK has poor outcomes for cancer care compared to some of these comparable countries.  If we really want our hospitals here in the UK to provide World class cancer care, we need to invest and ensure our system can accelerate the use of clinically and cost effective medicines.  Government has a key role to play in allowing this to happen.”

Click here to view the Lancet report.​

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 7 December 2015

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

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