New figures highlight savings in medicine costs

NHS England has announced savings of more than £700 million from the annual medicines bill.

New figures show that the uptake of best value medicines lowered costs to taxpayers by £294 million last year alone, on track to meet its ambitious target of a further £400 million annual savings by 2021.

A single drug – adalimumab – treatment for arthritis and other diseases, saved £110 million alone thanks to a ‘smart procurement’, after the drug came off patent at the end of 2018.

Previously adalimumab was the individual medicine on which hospitals spend the most, at a cost of more than £400 million a year.

Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said “The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but as part of the Long Term Plan, we will continue to drive changes to ensure every NHS pound is spent wisely and patients have access to innovative life changing medicines.

“Use of the best value versions of expensive medicines is already delivering effective treatment for patients across the NHS, including those with cancer, offering the right care for patients while saving the tax payer hundreds of millions of pounds.”

NHS England has previously announced plans to accelerate and widen the uptake of best value biologic medicines in a bid to save £400 million to £500 million per year by 2020/21.

Medicine                                         Treats2018-2019 savings delivered
Adalimumab best value biologic uptakeRheumatoid diseases, dermatological and inflammatory bowel diseases£109,668,408
Infliximab best value biologic uptakeRheumatoid diseases and inflammatory bowel diseases£31,964,413
Etanercept best value biologic uptakeRheumatoid diseases£36,077,607
Rituximab best value biologic uptakeCertain cancers and rheumatoid conditions£45,174,920
Imatinib generic uptakeTypes of cancer£18,848,913
Linezolid generic uptakeTypes of bacterial infection£2,037,999
Prednisolone SolubleAsthma£37,786
Valganciclovir generic uptakeTypes of fungal infection£3,833,955
Voriconazole generic uptakeTypes of fungal infection£6,983,219
Caspofungin generic uptakeTypes of fungal infection£8,485,062
Trastuzumab best value biologic uptakeBreast cancers£24,254,902