NHS to save £7bn thanks to medicine pricing agreement.

The voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access (VPAS) means patients can access new lifesaving treatments in a cost effective way for the NHS.

The scheme, an agreement between the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry was introduced in 2019 to ensure the bill for branded medicines bought by the NHS was sustainable and predictable.

It does this by setting a cap on the total allowed sales value of branded medicines to the NHS each year. The cap grows at an agreed rate of two per cent per year. Any medicine sales above the cap are paid back to the DHSC via a levy. The current rate is 26.5 per cent.

As a result of the VPAS NHS England has rolled out a world-leading cystic fibrosis therapy and secured first-in-Europe access to the revolutionary lung cancer drug sotorasib.

Thanks to the scheme the NHS has also struck a series of national deals for HIV treatments and preventative drugs that will support England’s ambition to become the first country to end HIV transmissions before 2030.

Commenting on this Andrew Jones MP said: “The VPAS is a great example of the NHS working with industry to ensure fast rollouts of new treatments while supporting the UK’s world class life sciences sector.

“The scheme saves lives, ensures the branded medicines bill for the NHS is affordable and enables businesses to earn money to fund research into new treatments.

“There are five treatments available in England for every four in Europe and a third more cancer drugs available. It is important that the replacement agreement to be negotiated before the end of the year maintains this balance of saving lives while supporting British science and research.”