The Public Accounts Committee has opened an inquiry into price increases for generic medicines.
A recent investigation by the national audits office found that the NHS spent £4.3 billion on generic medicines in 2016/2017. In 2017/18, the NHS spent £315 million to pharmacies in concessionary prices because of price increases, a seven fold increase on 2016/17 concessionary spend.
According to the NAO, ten medicines represented half of this additional spend. For example, the peak concessionary price for the antipsychotic Quetiapine was £113.10; the previous set price was 70 times lower at £1.59.
On 7 June, the Competition Appeal Tribunal referred a case back to the Competition and Markets Authority, asking them to reconsider a decision that Pfizer and Flynn Pharma had breached competition law by charging unfairly high prices for the unbranded generic medicine Phenytoin sodium capsules.
The Public Accounts Committee is currently taking evidence from the Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England, to establish what they are doing to control price increases. For those planning to submit written evidence to the inquiry, the deadline to do so is midday on Tuesday 26 July 2018.