With the financial strain building on the NHS, and the next steps in the NHS Five Year Forward View being implemented, NHS England have pledged to lead a review on prescription items. Evolve Selection have summarised the changes and how these might affect the Pharmaceutical Industry across the UK.
It is said that in the last decade, NHS prescriptions have risen by as much as 50%, at a cost of approximately £9.3 billion per year. NHS Clinical Commissioners have identified that potentially, savings of £400 million could be made each year, which could be spent on innovative new drugs. Clinical Commissioners have suggested that following the consultation, NHS England sets out a national approach, that can be adopted by all CCGs.
The review will look to address the mounting concerns over the validation of many current products which are available for NHS prescription.
At the forefront of this, the first prescription items to be under review and evaluated for NHS prescribing include:
- Gluten-free foods
- Travel Vaccines
- Omega-3 and fish oils
- Pain killers
- Hypertension drugs
- Muscle rubs
- Thyroid medications
- Erectile Dysfunction products
Other products which have been suggested for review include:
- Sun cream
- Cough and cold remedies
- Heartburn & indigestion products
The above products are described as having either low clinical effectiveness, low clinical value or priority, or easily available over the counter. Alongside this, many of the items are cheaper to buy over the counter than the cost to the NHS. A combined cost to the NHS of the above is said to be £128 million per year.
Guidance will be available from NHS Rightcare to help CCGs identify where money is currently being wasted on un-optimised healthcare, and ascertain how services and products could be altered in order to save on finances and increase positive patient outcomes.
Increased pressure is being placed on CCGs to cut prescribing costs and improve patient services. Of course, Pharma must engage with CCGs to meet these prescribing targets and clearly detail strong value based propositions. It must distinctly detail how its products can fit in with local CCG prescribing plans and have a compelling case for both cost saving and clinical benefits to ensure product adoption.
Alongside this, de-prescribing is another issue which Pharma needs to consider. This is another key matter which will be a CCG priority, in an attempt to reduce prescribing costs. Obviously, this could potentially result in lower sales for Pharma, however, providing a proposition for regular patient reviews, is just 1 way which Pharma can engage with the NHS.
In the current climate, it is essential that Pharma comprehends the situation and can take a tailored approach, that is evidenced on the effectiveness of its products, and has core focal points on reducing costs and improving outcomes.
Being a leading recruiter within the Pharmaceutical industry, Evolve Selection recognises that Pharmaceutical organisations will need to adapt their recruitment processes in order to evaluate potential employees’ knowledge regarding the prescribing changes proposed above.
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