UK to unveil new scheme to curb drug prices -sources


LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Britain's Department of Healthwill unveil a new five-year scheme on Wednesday to curbprescription drug prices and ensure the state healthcare systemgets good value for money, according to people familiar with thediscussions.

The latest version of the so-called pharmaceutical priceregulation scheme, or PPRS, will require that drugmakers accepta rebate system that reduces the cost of branded medicines tothe National Health Service by close to 4 percent in 2014.

Prices will then be held flat in 2015 and allowed to risevery modestly in the last three years, the sources added.

Governments across Europe have been taking a tough line ondrug costs as stagnant economic growth hits their healthcarebudgets.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and thecentre-left Social Democrats agreed on Monday to maintain asimilar tight rein on prescription drug costs via legallymandated price discounts.

The new deal struck between the British government and theAssociation of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)follows several months of tough negotiations during which theABPI argued that medicine prices in Britain are already amongthe lowest in Europe.

The ABPI represents British companies such asGlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc, aswell as the UK units of multinationals such as Pfizer Inc and Novartis AG.

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