A survey commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry claims that more than half (52%) of English adults believe not enough of the NHS budget is being spent on medicines.
The poll of 1,764 adults, conducted by ComRes, showed that this figure rises in older adults, with three in five aged 55 and above believing the NHS’s current 10p in every £1 spent on medicines was ‘not enough’ compared with 40% of those aged 18 to 24. The survey also shows that nine out of ten English adults believe the Government should do more to make sure that people across the UK get the latest medicines when they have a serious or life threatening illness.

Some 84% agreed the NHS should ensure that patients with rare conditions have access to the widest possible range of medicines, regardless of the cost, while 93% feel patients wherever they live in the UK should have a right to the same drugs. About three in five (63%) believe that if the NHS budget increases, some of the extra money should be spent on providing the newest meds than in other areas and 32% say that a political promise to spend more would make them more likely to vote for the party in question.

ABPI chief executive Stephen Whitehead said that “with the public united in the belief that access to the latest medicines would be a top priority if they had a serious illness and the overwhelming importance of equality of access to medicines, especially for the sickest of patients, it goes to show how passionately the public cares”. He added that “it is a testament to the strength of feeling that a third of adults in England would be more likely to vote for a party that promised to invest more in this vital area and supports the industry’s calls for government to increase access to medicines”.