Intended for healthcare professionals


Spending on shortages of generics rose sevenfold last year to £315m

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 11 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2581
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

Rapid price rises for some generic drugs forced clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to spend an extra £315m (€357m; $422m) last year, placing their budgets under significant pressure, the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.1 In one case, the price of a generic antipsychotic drug rose by a factor of 70.

The report into NHS spending on generic drugs in primary care says a number of factors may have contributed to the price increases, including a fall in the value of sterling, supply problems, and wholesalers pushing up their profits. The derailing of CCG’s budgets by the price hikes was first reported in The BMJ in January.2

The NHS spent an estimated £4.3bn on generic drugs in 2016-17, of which £3.5bn was spent in primary care. In primary care, pharmacies buy drugs from wholesalers or manufacturers who determine their own prices. The …

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