London: The pharmaceutical industry today called for a public debate on access to modern medicines, and how society determines the value of new treatments.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is inviting NICE, patient groups, medical professionals, the NHS and leading healthcare charities to debate the issues amid continuing controversy on the availability and cost of innovative medicines to NHS patients.
“A frank, open and honest debate is clearly in the interests of patients,” said Chris Brinsmead, President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
“We are calling for the patient groups, healthcare charities, doctors, Government, NICE and the NHS to join with the pharmaceutical industry to debate these crucial issues to hammer out a lasting solution. The time has come to discuss how we best resolve the issue, and where better than on a public platform?”
The pharmaceutical industry spends approximately £3.9billion a year in the UK researching and developing new medicines for patients. This investment has delivered over 90 per cent of the medicines available today and has led to new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease and HIV to name but a few, Mr Brinsmead added.
He said: “The UK pharmaceutical industry along with other healthcare professionals and NICE is committed to developing innovative approaches to pricing, ensuring that patients receive the medicines that they need. Taking the recent example of the four kidney cancer medicines, all these medicines are widely available to patients throughout Europe where the prices are higher than in the UK.”
Mr Brinsmead said: “We are looking forward to hearing NICE’s response and welcome their contribution to what will be one of the most important debates in the history of modern healthcare.”
Image – Boy and Medicine: courtesy of MedicImage