Letters Generic drug pricing

The scandal of generic drug pricing: drug regulation policies need review

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j947 (Published 23 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j947

'Generic' NHS manufactured Blood Glucose Monitoring Strips

I agree with the principle that the NHS should be free to safely manufacture generic drugs where this represents cost saving.

I also wonder whether it would be possible for the NHS to manufacture its own Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems.
There are many different testing kits on the market currently. Meter reading devices are often sold at a discount by pharmacies - a 'loss leader' that will more than recoup its costs through the subsequent NHS prescriptions of testing strips.

Primary care organisations are frequently tasked with the role of sticking to whichever testing system is currently deemed cost effective. These can then rapidly become no longer the most cost effective.

I do not know the true cost of manufacturing testing strips, but my suspicion is that they are likely to be very cheap once a suitable economy of scale has been achieved.

If the NHS had its own prescribable/issuable systems they could then become the only ones that are prescribed throughout primary and secondary care. The potential cost savings could be massive.

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 March 2017
David J Lee
Lister House Surgery, Wiveliscombe