UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has told drugmakers the government does not have a “magic bullet” to deal with financial pressures and is unlikely to give in to industry demands to pay a significantly higher price. higher for drugs.
The government will unveil £650m worth of reforms to boost the life sciences sector on Friday as part of a broader package of measures.
Drugmakers have condemned the government for raising a tax on NHS drug sales to 26.5 percent this year, from 5.1 percent in the past two years. They have argued that under prices it means the UK will lose investment in innovation.
The levy, or voluntary scheme for the price and access to branded medicines (Vpas), is designed to limit the NHS drug bill.
The chancellor and other ministers met leaders of pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca and GSK on Thursday to discuss proposals to spur growth in the £94 billion life sciences sector. United.
Hunt He said drugmakers knew that the prices paid for NHS drugs would remain lower than in other countries.
“[Pharma companies] Recognize that the NHS will continue to get the world’s lowest prices for medicines because it is a single payer for one of the world’s largest healthcare systems.
“I am very honest with the pharmaceutical companies that we do not have a magic wand to deal with these financial pressures. Responsible public finances are absolutely essential if we are to have economic stability.”
Hunt said the government wanted to work with the companies to find a “win-win” outcome as they negotiate an agreement on the NHS medicines bill for the next few years.
The announcement came as the US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly — which is developing innovative drugs for Alzheimer’s and obesity — said it is holding off on potential investment in London.
Eli Lilly said it was considering other locations in Europe due to concerns about a “suffocating business environment” in the UK.
“In the short term, negotiating a new and sustainable pricing agreement that unlocks the growth potential of our sector is key to restoring the UK’s international competitiveness and attracting future investment,” it said in a statement.
Ministers also unveiled £121m of funding to revive commercial clinical trials run by the NHS, some of which have been previously announced.
The government also committed up to £250m to incentivized pension schemes to fund UK science and technology companies.
In a government-commissioned report published on Friday, former life sciences minister Lord James O’Shaughnessy made recommendations to address a dramatic drop in the number of commercial trials in the UK, including that farmers should be paid GPs to participate in clinical research.
Hunt backed O’Shaughnessy’s goal of quadrupling the number of patients in clinical trials by 2027. The government also accepted his recommendations to reduce the time to approve commercial trials to 60 days and create a single contract for research across the NHS.
Richard Torbett, chief executive of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Association, said the measures showed the government had listened to the industry.
But he added that improving research is “only part of the equation.” “To bring innovative medicines to patients and take full advantage of the growth opportunity, we must also fix the business environment.”