Observations Drug Policy

Drug pricing, NICE, and the PPRS: government gets it right

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c6378 (Published 10 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6378
  1. Joe Collier, emeritus professor of medicines policy, St George’s, University of London
  1. jcollier{at}sgul.ac.uk

The proposed changes to the role of NICE could be a major advance

Although we don’t have all the detail, enough is available to make me think that the recent announcements by England’s health secretary, Andrew Lansley, of his plans for the future of drug pricing, of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and of the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) are logical, defensible, and welcome. Moreover, if the previous government had been more courageous, these very measures would now be only a year away. How so?

Lansley’s proposals appear to spring directly from the 2007 report by the Office of Fair Trading on the workings of the PPRS,1 the findings of which were damning. The report said that the OFT had “an overriding concern with the scheme as it is currently designed: neither the profit cap nor the price cut helps secure prices that reflect the therapeutic value of the drugs companies are supplying to the NHS.” Moreover it said that “when prices are out of line with value, the NHS is not making the best use of available resources to improve health.” The OFT considered this to be “a major shortcoming” and that …

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