Formal meetings began in September between the ABPI and the Department of Health to negotiate the pricing environment that will apply in the UK from 2014. The current Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation Scheme (PPRS) is due to expire at the end of 2013 and it is currently proposed that, after its expiry, a value-based pricing system will be used to determine prices for new medicines while a revised version of the PPRS will be used to determine the prices for branded drugs already available.
Interestingly, this is against the backdrop of two recent reports that seem to illustrate that the price of branded medicines in the UK is firmly under control. The first, published by OEH Consulting for the ABPI and comparing the prices of medicines in 13 different countries in 2011 (Australia, Austria, Belgium, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the US), shows that the UK's price continue to be among the lowest in developed nations, with UK prices for leading branded medicines in primary care found to be in the bottom quartile. The second, being the Department of Health's annual report and accounts for 2011 to 2012, shows that the cost of prescribing medicines fell by 0.4 per cent whilst the volume of medicines increased by 3.9 per cent.
In a statement released by the ABPI, it points to these reports as "demonstrating the value the Department of Health is getting from medicines, even as the cost of primary healthcare rose 1.2%". Nevertheless, the Government remains intent on introducing value based pricing in some form.