Intended for healthcare professionals


AbbVie and Eli Lilly leave UK pricing scheme over revenue repayments

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 30 January 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p207
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Two major US pharmaceutical companies, AbbVie and Eli Lilly, have left the UK’s voluntary medicines pricing scheme because they say it has “harmed innovation” and made it “increasingly difficult” to advocate for the UK market to shareholders.

The Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) came into effect in January 2019 and limits the profit manufacturers can make on branded drugs sold to the NHS.1 It does this by capping the growth rate of branded drug spending at 2% a year, with industry required to return any spending over that.

In 2023, manufacturers of branded drugs in the scheme will be required to return almost £3.3bn—or 26.5% of sales—to the government, up from around £0.6bn in 2021 and £1.8bn in 2022.

According to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), this means that the money spent on branded drugs has declined by 14% …

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