Pharma firms’ price rises weighing on NHS budgets
The soaring cost of medicines is outstripping the growth in funding for Scotland’s health service, experts have warned.
Spending on the NHS north of the border will hit £13 billion a year by 2019, up by £2bn – allowing for inflation – from a decade ago.
However, along with a growing elderly population and soaring demand for services, the cost of medicines is dwarfing the increased funding for the NHS.
Analysis by the charity Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) shows all hospital costs in 2015/16 rose by 3.9%, but hospital drugs costs rose 8.2%.
HFMA warns Scotland’s annual £ 1.67bn drugs budget is set to continue to soar.
A spokeswoman said: “If growth continues at this rate then an increasing proportion of healthcare expenditure will need to be on medicines, and savings will have to be found elsewhere.
“As well as the general risk due to rising medicines costs, there are some specific financial risks associated with very rare and endof- life conditions medicines because of their relatively high cost and high acceptance rates.”
According to its analysis, growth in the cost of hospital drugs is likely to be 10.2% over the next three years.