Foreign drug giants face a new pricing challenge

The impact of foreign pharmacy leaders in the UK healthcare operation could come under investigation after it seemed that foreign firms are the ones behind a judicial evaluation challenge to new NHS drug pricing controls.

Senior industry experts announced this week’s move had divided the £60bn life sciences sector, with some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies criticised for controversially beating a way to the High Court.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is the cause of the judicial review request, which attempts to reverse drug price powers introduced by health expenses watchdog NICE in April this year.

The FTSE 100 duo GSK and AstraZeneca, the two of ABPI’s only British board members are known to hate the changes but are reluctant to legal action which they see as threatening.

Under the new policies, NHS England does not have to automatically subsidise drugs assumed to cost more than £20 million in any of the first three years they are in practice. Instead, it can opt to try to manage down the price or ration their roll-out.

Both GSK and AstraZeneca have openly displayed reservations.

An industry specialist said: “There’s a strong correlation between the level of long-term and strategic investment in the UK and feeling on the judicial review”. The ABPI says it is “reluctantly” mounting the challenge because it fears patients will miss out on the latest treatments. When asked which firms supported the action the ABPI said it was “a majority view”.

14 Jul, 4:38 PM GMT+1

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