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Access to Drugs

Volume 538: debated on Tuesday 10 January 2012

2. What recent representations he has received on access by NHS patients to drugs invented and developed in UK laboratories; and if he will make a statement. (88267)

Representations received have strongly supported the Government’s “Strategy for UK Life Sciences”, which was published on 5 September. Speeding up clinical trials approval, enabling the unique NHS clinical databanks to support research, the early adoption of new medicines and other initiatives will bring NHS patients the fullest benefit from innovation and will promote growth in UK biosciences.

What steps are being taken towards closer collaboration between the NHS, industry and our world-class universities to drive improvement and innovation in the NHS for the benefit of current and future NHS patients?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He rightly highlights an area where we are clear that innovation can be considerably supported, and not only by the academic health science centres, which were established under the last Government. As the life sciences strategy set out in early September made clear, we want to create academic health science networks across the NHS so that higher education, industry and the NHS can work together to bring about the greatest possible innovation to the benefit of patients.

The current pharmaceutical price regulation scheme is able to recognise the fact that pharmaceutical companies based here and developing drugs here should be paid a little bit more for their drugs by the NHS on the basis of their worth for the general economy. Will the Secretary of State tell us whether his proposals for value-based prices will affect that?

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that the existing PPRS does not in any sense directly fund innovation in the United Kingdom. Although it takes account of expenditure on innovation, it cannot identify that expenditure in the United Kingdom as a beneficiary through pharmaceutical pricing. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, we are continuing to discuss with the industry the shape of value-based pricing from January 2014, the purpose being to ensure that we fund the value associated with new medicines: the therapeutic value to patients, the innovative value—which will highlight the UK as a base for research and development—and the societal value.