HC Deb 11 December 2003 vol 415 cc562-3W
Dr. Tonge

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of the loss to pharmaceutical companies in the UK from parallel trade of medicines from abroad; [141698]

(2) what discussions she has had with pharmaceutical companies regarding the parallel trade in medicines from abroad. [141699]

Ms Rosie Winterton

I have been asked to reply.

In terms of the impact on national health service expenditure, information is not routinely collected on the source of products, but from the data currently available the Department of Health estimates that parallel imports saves the NHS in England approximately £60 million per year in the community sector. No estimate is available for the hospital sector.

The Government have not made their own assessment of the loss to pharmaceutical companies in the United Kingdom from parallel trade. The NHS does not reap the full benefit of the price differentials associated with parallel trade, as much of the difference is lost within the supply chain across Europe.

Ministers in the Department of Health meet representatives of the pharmaceutical industry frequently to discuss issues affecting that sector, including parallel trade in Europe. The most recent meeting was on 2 December, between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Health (Lord Warner) and representatives of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

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