Legislative Consent Memorandum - Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

 

Consideration by the Committee

The Committee agreed its approach to the Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill at its meeting on 6 December 2016.

The legislative consent memorandum can be found here.

The Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

The House of Commons Library briefing on the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill states that the Bill intends to make a number of amendments to the National Health Service Act 2006 on matters related to the control of medicine prices.

The prices of the sale of NHS branded medicines is regulated in the UK through two schemes, the voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) and a Statutory Scheme, both of which use measures to control the prices of branded medicines. Manufacturers and suppliers of NHS branded medicines can choose to sign up to the PPRS or will automatically fall under the control of the Statutory Scheme for their branded medicines. The prices of unbranded generic medicines are not controlled, competition within the market is relied upon to control prices.

The provisions within the Bill intend to address a number of concerns that the UK Government has expressed relating to medicines pricing. These include that the Statutory Scheme is providing lower savings for the NHS than the PPRS and the two schemes should be more aligned; and that a number of single source unbranded generic medicines manufacturers have recently been able to significantly increase prices, often by over 1000%.

The Bill would seek to provide powers for the UK Secretary of State for Health to:

            • make changes to the statutory scheme to make it more aligned with the PPRS;

            • control the prices of unbranded generic medicines; and

            • require all medicines manufacturers and suppliers to provide information relating to prices.

The Legislative Consent Memorandum

The LCM was lodged by the Scottish Government. The relevant provisions that triggered the LCM relate to amendments tabled by Mr Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State at the Department of Health. The LCM seeks consent from the Scottish Parliament in relation to these amendments which extend the information gathering powers in the Bill to the devolved administrations. The original clause only applied to England.

The purposes for which the UK Government can collect information involve three areas: cost and pricing schemes, reimbursement of pharmacies and GPs, and assessing value for money. The clause provides the Secretary of State with the power to request any information for the purposes set out in the Bill and the amendments would enable the Secretary of State to do this for the whole of the UK and share information with a range of bodies, including Scottish Ministers and NHS National Services Scotland.

It has been agreed between the administrations that the UK Secretary of State would collect information from manufacturers and wholesalers across the UK, while the devolved administrations would collect information from pharmacies and GPs in their own area. 

The Committee has agreed to issue a targeted call for views on the Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill.

The closing date for responses to the call for views was Tuesday 20th December. Responses were emailed to healthandsport@parliament.scot

The full call for views can be read here.  

The Committee recieved six written submissions in response to the call for review, these can be read below: 

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) (30KB pdf)

British Medical Association (BMA) (21KB pdf)

Community Pharmacy Scotland (22KB pdf)

Health Improvement Scotland (22KB pdf)

Royal Pharmaceutical Society (22KB pdf)

Royal College of General Practitioners (22KB pdf)

At its meeting on 17 January 2017 the Committee held an oral evidence session with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on the LCM. Following this evidence session the Committee recommended that the Parliament agrees to a legislative consent motion in the terms outlined in the memorandum.

On 7 February 2017 the Parliament agreed, without division, that motion S5M-03631, in the name of Shona Robison, on the Health Services Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill be agreed to.

 
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