Sector News

Pharma's legal challenge to U.K. cost clampdown gets shot down

October 5, 2017
Life sciences

Pharmaceutical companies, which have taken a hard stance against new cost-management strategies in England, have fallen short in an effort to block them with a legal challenge.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said on Wednesday that a court denied its application to review an NHS England and NICE strategy that limits spending on medicines that are projected to cost the country’s health system more than £20 million per year. The group, which sought the review in July, represents top drugmakers such as GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Roche, Pfizer and others.

“It’s now appropriate for us to take time to reflect on the judgement with our members and decide next steps,” the industry group said in a statement.

Implemented in April, the new strategy triggers a “commercial discussion” between drugmakers and health authorities when a medicine is expected to cost the system more than £20 million per year. At that threshold, health officials and industry are to work together on affordable launch options for expensive new drugs. If they can’t agree to terms, NHS England can apply for a “phased introduction of the product to help manage the financial impact over a longer period than the standard 90 days,” according to the agency’s website.

Historically, patients in England have had legal access to drugs recommended by cost watchdog NICE. Officials have said the overhaul could impact one in five new drug launches.

Critics blasted the system as another barrier to patient access, arguing that patients could die while waiting for treatment. Industry tried to block the implementation with an application for a judicial review “after many months” of negotiating, ABPI head Mike Thompson said.

Now, the industry’s legal effort has fallen short. An NHS spokesperson told FiercePharma via email that the court “rejected ABPI’s flawed legal manoeuvres which the judge said would ‘produce an absurd result.’

“Rather than attempting to further frustrate NICE and the NHS’ work to ensure patients and taxpayers get maximum value out of the £15 billion being spent on drugs, it now makes sense to work together towards that shared goal,” NHS England’s spokesperson said.

Industry and cost watchdogs in England have had a contentious history lately as officials have worked to crack down on spending amid a tough budget situation. The country recently overhauled its Cancer Drugs Fund and has sometimes turned away pharma’s new launches on cost-effectiveness grounds, triggering an industry backlash.

By Eric Sagonowsky

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

January 29, 2023

Colorcon, Inc. signs Put agreement with intent to acquire controlled atmosphere packaging specialist Airnov Healthcare Packaging

Life sciences

Airnov provides critical healthcare industries with high-quality, controlled atmosphere packaging, to protect their products from moisture and oxygen. The business has manufacturing facilities in the USA, France, China and India and employs around 700 people.

January 29, 2023

Takeda pledges up to $1.13B for rights to Hutchmed’s cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China

Life sciences

Takeda of Japan has partnered with Hong Kong-based Hutchmed, gaining the commercial rights to colorectal cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China for $400 million up front, plus $730 million in potential milestone payments. Takeda also will help develop fruquintinib, which can be applied to subtypes of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, regardless of biomarker status, the companies said.

January 29, 2023

Vir taps Bayer dealmaker Marianne De Backer as its next CEO

Life sciences

On April 3, Scangos, who’s been chief executive officer at Vir since the start of 2017, will hand over the reins to Marianne De Backer, Ph.D. De Backer comes over from Bayer, where she currently heads up pharmaceutical strategy, business development and licensing. Alongside her CEO appointment, De Backer is set to join Vir’s board of directors, the company said Wednesday.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach