HC Deb 29 February 2000 vol 345 cc227-9W
Mr. Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the average price inflation of drugs supplied to the NHS for each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [110558]

Ms Stuart

Information on the average price increase over previous year's prices is given in the table. It covers all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England.

Percentage increase
1993 -3.2
1994 -1.7
1995 -1.3
1996 0.0
1997 -0.4
1998 -2.6


1. The table has been composed using the Paasche index, which gives the percentage change in the average price of products which existed in both years.

2. Data is only available from 1992 onwards.

Mr. Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money is provided by drug companies to the NHS; what form these donations take; which companies provide the major contributions; and if he will make a statement. [110556]

Ms Stuart

The Department expects all significant donations to be declared at local level, as set out in existing guidelines published in January 1993—Standards of business conduct for National Health Service staff (HSG(93)5).

Consultation has recently taken place on updated guidance, which we expect to be available shortly.

Mr. Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which EU regulations govern the pricing and supply of drugs; and if he will make a statement. [111468]

Ms Stuart

The pricing and supply of medicines are not governed directly by EU regulations, but left to member states. However the measures adopted by member states have to conform to the general requirements of European law and in particular Council Directive 89/105/EEC relating to the transparency of measures regulating the pricing of medicinal products for human use and their inclusion in the scope of national health insurance systems.

Mr. Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the NHS's purchasing policy for(a) generic and (b) branded drugs. [111469]

Ms Stuart

Our policy is to secure purchasing arrangements which ensure a reliable and secure supply of medicines to patients and value for money for the National Health Service.

In the case of branded medicines, we have negotiated a new five-year Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS). The PPRS includes a 4.5 per cent. reduction in the price of branded medicines from October 1999. Thereafter, the only changes permitted until 1 January 2001 are cost-neutral modulations, with strict controls on price increases after that date. The Health Act 1999 includes reserve powers to deal with companies that elect not to be scheme members or cease to be scheme members. Regulations came into force on 14 February 2000 to ensure that the prices of medicines supplied by companies outside the voluntary scheme may be controlled, and the price reduction implemented where appropriate. At the same time the PPRS contains incentives to companies to develop new medicines, and allowances for the cost of research and development.

Generic medicines are not covered by the PPRS. We have commissioned a fundamental review of arrangements for the supply of generic medicines to the NHS in England to examine whether existing arrangements best serve the health service and to identify possible alternatives. The conclusions of the programme of work are expected in the summer.

The NHS Supplies Authority plays a part in the procurement of medicines for hospitals. The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency will be set up from 1 April to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of purchasing in the NHS in England.

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