Pharma firms’ price rises weigh­ing on NHS bud­gets

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By An­drew Picken APICKEN@SUNDAYPOST.COM

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.

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