Generics have helped save £1.2bn says NHSE&I

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Generics have helped save £1.2bn says NHSE&I

Generic drugs have helped the NHS save taxpayers £1.2bn over three years, according to NHS England and Improvement.

Chief executive Amanda Pritchard said “smart deals” by the health service meant “patients are getting the best medicines and taxpayers are getting best value".

NHSE&I said adalimumab, used to treat over 45,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis, accounted for around one-third of savings. It was known by its brand name Humira before its patent expired in 2018.

“Since then, tens of millions of pounds have been saved by buying cheaper generic versions of other medicines for conditions ranging from severe skin infections to aggressive blood cancers,” NHSE&I said. It also said four in five medicines prescribed on the NHS are non-branded.

“The NHS has once again shown our commercial power to secure cutting-edge treatments for patients while freeing up £1.2bn of taxpayers’ money, through negotiating better prices for high volumes of branded and non-branded drugs – ensuring that our frontline staff have the necessary medicines to support high-quality patient care wherever you live,” Pritchard said.

“From better value treatment for arthritis to a ‘one-shot’ jab for spinal muscular atrophy, this approach is part of our NHS Long Term Plan, giving patients access to the latest life-changing medicines as early as possible as well as ensuring every NHS pound is spent wisely.”

The generic drug dexamethasone was used on the NHS during the Covid pandemic to treat hospitalised patients and NHSE&I is looking at how existing medicines can be used in new ways through the Medicines Repurposing programme.

The chief pharmaceutical officer for England David Webb paid tribute to pharmacy teams across the country for the role they have played in helping the NHS deliver savings.

“We are also delivering on programmes to ensure we are responsible prescribers, using medicines safely and effectively, and with appropriate review, to continue to improve patient outcomes,” he said.

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