UK government denies it has scrapped value based pricing, others doubtful on future
The UK government on Friday denied it has scrapped its value based pricing (VBP) scheme for new drugs, while the country's pharma trade body refused to comment on the suggestion and APM sources are sceptical that any scheme actually implemented will be true value-based pricing.
Following the publication of a Scottish parliamentary report which intimated value-based pricing would not go ahead, a Department of Health spokeswoman told APM it is continuing to develop the scheme, which will attempt to set a price for medicines based on efficacy and broader value to society.
"We are moving forward with it," the spokesperson said.
The Scottish Government earlier this week published a document indicating that the scheme may have been scrapped and replaced with a modified version of NICE's cost-effectiveness assessments.
The spokeswoman referred to a statement in June detailing NICE's role in assessing the value of medicines in the new scheme.
According to the DH, the June announcement "superseded" the Scottish Government's document, which, it said, is based on outdated evidence from May.
The spokeswoman added that negotiations with the pharma industry over a revised Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) for already-marketed branded medicines are ongoing, adding that there will be an announcement on this "shortly".
The other key player in VBP negotiations, British trade body the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), would not comment when asked directly if value-based pricing was to go ahead in the UK.
On pricing negotiation in general, an ABPI spokesman told APM: "Negotiations on a future pricing scheme are ongoing."
APM sources familiar with the situation were sceptical about the likelihood of VBP going ahead in the UK as originally prescribed, although the name may be retained for a watered-down version.
One source said the ideals of value based pricing would not be achieved and an interim scheme due to be published by NICE in the coming weeks will be an evolution of the cost-effectiveness body's existing processes rather than a new way to price drugs.
Another source had come to the same conclusion, stating that the DH will continue with the label "value based pricing", even though the proposed scheme will fall short of the original ideas set by former health secretary Andrew Lansley in 2010.
NICE said in an emailed response to the Scottish Government's document that it was continuing to develop "value based process and methods".
It told APM its board will next month approve an 'interim' value based pricing process, which will be in place on January 1, when the full scheme was originally due to come into effect.
It will also approve updates to single technology appraisal and multiple technology appraisals at the same meeting, according to the statement late on Thursday.
A public consultation will begin on the proposals in January, after which time the interim process will begin.
Final process guides, including value based pricing will be published in September 2014, according to the statement.