New Scottish Medicines Fund Boosted by UK PPRS

Pharmaceutical Executive

The 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), the voluntary agreement to cover pricing of branded medicines supplied to the NHS in the UK, included provisions for member companies to pay back to the Department of Health (DH) if spend went over pre-agreed growth rates.

The 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), the voluntary agreement to cover pricing of branded medicines supplied to the NHS in the UK, included provisions for member companies to pay back to the Department of Health (DH) if spend went over pre-agreed growth rates.  That has translated into £150 million already for the first two quarters of 2014 alone and could even reach £1 billion next year, according to the head of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

What those monies should be spent on has been the subject of much speculation; the text of the PPRS doesn’t actually say where it should go. The Scots have decided to use PPRS monies to boost funding to medicines with the introduction of a new medicines fund worth £40 million for this year.

The fund isn’t entirely new; it has evolved from the rare conditions medicines fund set up in March 2013. That has paid for a 45 different medicines for 200+ patients that had not been recommended by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC). The existing £20 million fund has been boosted by £20 million, using PPRS monies. The new medicines fund will run until 2015/16 according to current plans.

The fund seems to be well received, with support from patient groups Genetic Alliance UK and the Rarer Cancers Foundation, and welcomed by the ABPI.

Those in Scotland must presumably be hoping that they won’t face the same problems that have dogged England’s Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), which is now overspent and causing more than a few headaches with proposals for delisting and discounting.

The  question is whether we’ll see PPRS monies used the same way in the other UK nations?

Leela Barham is an independent health economist. You can find out more about on her website and contact her at leels@btinternet.com