The new Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulatory Scheme is unlikely to deliver the benefit to patients that the government and ABPI have promised, a leading patient advocate says.

Eric Low, chief executive of Myeloma UK, was speaking ahead of a PharmaTimes meeting on 26 February, which will explore the new schemes and what the implications and reality will be for different stakeholders.

Low said he was aware of wide-spread concern among stakeholders that value-based pricing has been shelved in favour of a continued PPRS combined with a move to value-based assessment. “The jury is out” on whether value-based assessment will improve patient access on the NHS, he said.

He went on to question how the new pricing scheme, which was negotiated without any input from or consideration of patients, could fully take account of their interests.

“This is a systematic failure of joined-up policy and joined-up thinking. It’s not at all clear how this will benefit patients in the clinic,” he said.

“The goal of the negotiations was for stability for the pharma industry and to secure a high launch price to go into the reference pricing basket. The rebate is fine for the exchequer but what does that really mean for patients in terms of securing access to the treatment and care they need. It’s not clear to me how patients will actually benefit in reality. The treatments will still be expensive; there are other barriers after the PPRS that are likely to hinder and delay access. Unless the rebate is reinvested directly into the pot from which the expenditure was made, it’s hard to see why budget holders would want to allow better access to new drugs and how all of this will actually benefit patients.”  

Low would like pharma companies to look at different pricing strategies and to work more collaboratively to develop more efficient drug discovery and development models. He stressed this was an important issue for pharma and that the industry needed to take the patient view into account to meet its promise to be more patient centric. In addition, he called upon commissioners to allow clinical experts more freedom to prescribe the best treatment at the right time to the right patient albeit within a suitable cost constrained model.

Book your ticket now for the 26 February meeting and to hear more on Eric Low’s views on the new PPRS and value-based assessment proposal. Low will speak alongside, what he calls, a “prestigious panel” that includes representatives from NICE and the Department of Health, and chaired by Dr Phil Hammond. For more information, contact Jill Payne on or call 0208 487 9115.