Pharma organisations tussle over VPAS negotiations 20 Jul 2023
A High Court judgment on a judicial review brought by the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) has dismissed the organisation’s claim that it was unfairly excluded from talks on the next Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS). The BGMA took the action following the 16 March decision by the UK’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to prevent it taking part in the negotiations. The BGMA felt it should be involved in the discussions because it said four out of 10 products in the current VPAS were branded generics or biosimilars and its members were contending with slim margins under the present scheme.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is the only organisation conducting negotiations with the government on a successor to VPAS, with its preferred replacement known as the Voluntary Scheme for Pricing, Access and Growth (VPAG). However, the BGMA believed the ABPI would not “adequately represent or balance the interests of the off-patent sector,” according to chief executive Mark Samuels, which is why it brought the judicial review.
Commenting on the news, the ABPI asserted that it took its position as VPAS negotiator extremely seriously, but recognised that the BGMA action was ‘driven by the extreme challenge placed on all parts of the industry from the surge in the branded medicine payment rates’.
The BioIndustry Association set out its views on the 2019 VPAS in June, which it regards as delivering a ‘highly inequitable outcome for the industry’. Among its recommendations are that the next agreement should offer a mutually beneficial partnership between industry and government, with financial controls more predictable and competitive internationally.
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