ABPI report shows relative lack of UK patient access to innovative drugs

New research published by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) shows that fewer patients in the UK are receiving new, innovative medicines than the average in a range of comparable, developed countries.

The research showed that the UK uses branded medicines less per person than many other countries but tends to use older rather than the latest medicines.

The report, International Comparison of Medicines Usage: Quantitative Analysis was compiled by the Office of Health Economics (OHE) and updates the 2010 Richards Report which examined the extent and causes of variations in international medicines use.

Despite showing an increase in usage per person for 11 of the 16 therapy classes surveyed from 2008/09, the report demonstrates that the UK occupies the 9th place out of 13 countries. France maintains its position at the top of the rankings while New Zealand remains in 13th place.

In seven of the 11 therapy classes the UK usage per person was below the international average for 2012/13. Usage included the latest cancer medicines less than five years old and those for dementia, multiple sclerosis and stroke prevention.

In the remaining four of these 11 classes – cancer medicines more than 10 years old and medicines for osteoporosis, respiratory distress syndrome and wet age-related macular degeneration – UK use was higher than the international average for 2012/13, highlighting a reliance on older medicines and relatively slow uptake since 2009 of newer, more innovative medicines, to treat cancer in particular.

David Watson, the ABPI’s Director of Pricing and Reimbursement, said: “We will use the information in this report to continue discussions between industry, the Department of Health and the NHS on how access to medicines can be increased through the commitments of the PPRS (2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme) agreement.”