Skip to main content

Medical Treatments: Prices

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 228673, tabled on 5 March 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps has he taken to ensure that medicines developed from public research are (a) accessible and (b) affordable.

Answered on

13 March 2019

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides support for the development of new drugs, medical devices, diagnostics and treatments, primarily through its investment in research infrastructure in the National Health Service and through a range of research funding programmes. NIHR-supported research supports the early translational and clinical development of new medicines and generates high quality evidence which is made available to inform decisions about the NHS and patients on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of medicines, including through National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance.

NICE technology appraisal guidance, and the associated funding requirement, play an important role in ensuring that patients have access to cost-effective new medicines, including medicines developed from public research. NICE assesses important new medicines through a robust evaluation process.

The Accelerated Access Review made recommendations to get transformative drugs and treatments to patients faster, while ensuring that the NHS gets value for money and remains at the forefront of innovation.

We have also formed the Accelerated Access Collaborative to accelerate patient access to high performing innovations that meet NHS needs.

The NHS is required by law to ensure that medicines recommended by NICE are routinely funded within three months, ensuring patient access to cost-effective medicines in England. There is no explicit link between the terms of NIHR research grants and the price the NHS pays for medicines.

The Department ensures that branded medicines remain affordable to the NHS through two pricing schemes. One is the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (2019 Voluntary Scheme) and the other is the statutory scheme set out in legislation.