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Pharmaceutical industry braces itself for government changes to drug pricing

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c2933 (Published 01 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2933
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

    Government plans to alter the way in which the prices of drugs are set could leave patients waiting longer, drug companies and analysts have warned.

    In place of the existing system, in which companies can set their own prices at launch, subject only to a limit on the overall profits they can make, drugs will be subject to value based pricing, the new government has indicated. Health secretary Andrew Lansley says it would be “a much more rational system.”

    But in countries that already negotiate drug prices there is often a delay as the terms of reimbursement are worked out. In the United Kingdom a drug can be marketed as soon as it has a licence, and at a price the company chooses. This has made the UK an attractive market in which to launch drugs, especially as the NHS price can then be used as a guide to pricing in other markets. Adrian Towse, director of the Office of Health Economics, says he fears that the change will …

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