The ABPI and the DH have published a joint statement of arrangements for the pricing of branded medicines from 2014 when the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) currently in operation expires.

The anticipation is that the new arrangements will give patients better access to the most effective medicines at prices that will encourage the NHS to use those medicines where they are clinically appropriate, deliver value for money for the NHS and provide a fair reward for those who invest in the development of innovative medicines. The new system will meld value-based pricing (VBP) for new medicines with a successor scheme to the 2009 PPRS. Negotiations between the ABPI and the DH are expected to begin later this year.  

The successor PPRS will cover the majority of branded prescription medicines already on the market (ie, licensed in the UK or EU) by 2014 and will operate under a similar but evolved framework to the 2009 PPRS. To ensure stability, the parties have agreed to aim for a five year agreement operative from 1 January 2014.  

Likewise, the new agreement for VBP must be stable and sustainable over the long term, so that the pharmaceutical industry can plan and prioritise research in areas which can deliver the greatest potential benefits to patients and the wider society.  

To seek to ensure that there is a common branded medicines pricing policy across the UK, the parties to the joint statement envisage close working with the health departments of the devolved administrations and their health technology assessment (HTA) bodies to ensure a co-ordinated and coherent approach.  

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 includes provisions that allow for the effect of the current mandatory funding direction for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended drugs to be replicated as the NHS moves to new structures. The Government’s intention is to maintain the effect of the funding direction for medicines which have successfully come through a VBP assessment. The NHS in England will continue to be required to fund medicines already recommended by NICE, as well as medicines subject to the VBP regime, so ensuring that patients continue to have access to clinically appropriate, cost-effective medicines and treatments, as set out in the NHS Constitution and accompanying handbook.