Long-awaited details of the new drug pricing landscape in the UK are to be announced tomorrow (Wednesday), PharmaTimes World News has learned.

There has been much debate over what shape the new system will take ever since the planned introduction of value-based pricing (VBP) in 2014 was announced by the government, and details remain sketchy.

What is known is that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will be responsible for assessing the price of new drugs under the National Health Service, taking into account variables such as wider societal benefits and burden of illness.

The idea is to better to link the price of a newly-approved drug to its value, and thus, according to the government, improve outcomes for patients through better access to effective medicines, stimulate innovation and the development of high value treatments, better the process for assessing new medicines, and ensure value for money for the NHS.

But it is anticipated that the new system will bring cuts of up to 20% on the average selling price of some branded drugs in hospitals, and it will also remove some existing exemptions to price controls, with an exemption scheme for small companies introduced instead.

The government has also previously said that the new arrangements will span a five-year period "to ensure stability and predictability" and "enable the NHS and industry to develop and manage their financial and investment plans", as well as allow the industry to "plan and prioritise research in areas which can deliver the greatest potential benefits to patients and society". 

The ABPI’s president Deepak Khanna told PharmaTimes earlier this year that he is looking to ensure that the current 55-year-old Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Regulation Scheme - which includes a 30% profit cap - will remain as the dominant factor in drug pricing for the UK, with elements of VBP welded into the old system.

The Association has voiced concern in the past that VBP could actually stifle innovation "because it will struggle to accurately reflect the inherent gradual and incremental nature of innovation". 

From the patient perspective, Drew Lindon, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Prostate Cancer UK, told PT that "for too long men with prostate cancer have been facing uncertainty over the new system of drug pricing and appraisal".

"We need to see a system which prioritises life-extending treatments to give men at the end of their lives precious extra time, involves patients in decisions, and values treatments which improve quality of life", he said.

PharmaTimes will be covering details of the incoming drug pricing framework, and reaction to it, as the news breaks.