The government is not obliged to take OFT's advice and has until mid-June to consider the findings. ABPI has said it is happy
to discuss drug pricing further. "The pharmaceutical industry wholeheartedly supports the desire of the NHS to deliver value
for money," says ABPI's Barker. "We are ready to sit down with the government to discuss ways in which this might be better
"It's important when thinking about changing [the drug pricing method] to take into account the impacts—both intended and
unintended," says OHE's Towse. He added that as an independent body, OFT is not obliged to carry out the sort of impact assessments
government departments are required to.
No changes will be made to the scheme until the current agreement expires in 2010. Industry hopes that whatever solution is
selected by then will be one that rewards innovation. "The current system has delivered major benefits to patients," concludes
Barker. "We expect government to consider very carefully the proposals to make wholesale changes to it, so that those advantages
are not put at risk."
Sarah Houlton is Pharmaceutical Executive's global correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org