IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T PRICE FIX IT: THE OFT AND THE PPRS


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Abstract

SUMMARYThe Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Report on the UK Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) recommends that when the current five-year PPRS expires in 2010 it be replaced with ‘value-based pricing’ which involves pre-launch centralised government price setting based on a cost-per-QALY threshold plus periodic ex post reviews. I examine the validity of the OFTs criticisms of the existing PPRS, review its proposals and propose an alternative way forward. I conclude that PPRS has performed well as a procurement bargain between industry and the UK government. It does not, however, incentivise efficient relative prices. That is not its job. I identify a number of problems with the OFT proposals. I recommend that key elements of a reformed UK pharmaceutical environment for 2010 should include an expanded role for HTA but with companies retaining freedom to set prices at launch; HTA use targeted via a contingent value of information approach; a retained backstop PPRS, perhaps moving to an RPI-X type control; the use of risk sharing and non-linear pricing arrangements; measures to ensure more effective therapeutic switching at local level; and measures to improve the take up of cost-effective treatments. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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