Cost of bespoke medicines cut by law change

NHS spending on medicines made up for individual patients is set to fall following legislation allowing price lists to be published.

Manufacturers of ‘specials’, unlicensed medicines manufactured for individual patients with specific needs, were previously not allowed to publicise availability of products.

Spending on such products has tripled in the past two years, as a result of increased outsourcing of manufacturing and rising delivery costs.

In May, GP exclusively revealed that the DoH is now working with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) to amend national reimbursement arrangements. Bringing costs down to 2007 levels would save the NHS £107m a year.

The PSNC said that changing the law to allow publication of price lists could help address cost issues.

‘This change has the potential to ease the current problems pharmacy contractors face in procuring these products by improving pharmacy contractor access to information on both the availability and cost of specials from different suppliers.’

The committee said it is encouraging specials manufacturers to publish price lists where practical. But, it recognised that, because of the bespoke nature of some products, this may not be possible in all cases.

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