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Tories call for NHS pricing reform


Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said NHS drugs should have a “value based pricing” system to prevent patients being denied medicines after a row broke out over advanced liver cancer treatment.

Draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said pharmaceutical firm Bayer’s charges for Nexavar, which can extend the lives of sufferers by about six months, were “simply too high”.

Cancer charities called NICE’s decision “a scandal” as Nexavar, also called sorafenib, is the only medicine shown to help advanced liver cancer.

During a Queen’s Speech debate on Wednesday, Mr Lansley said the government should “guarantee access” to necessary treatments.

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“Where this cancer drug is concerned, of course, it is not acceptable for us to be in a position where there are limitless opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to produce new drugs and ask the NHS to pay any sum of money,” he said.

“That is why it will be our intention to move to a system of value based pricing in the NHS, so the reimbursement price to pharmaceutical manufacturers should be reflective of the value of that medicine – the therapeutic value, the innovative value and where appropriate the wider value to society.”

Copyright Press Association 2009


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