UK think-tank criticizes government’s value-based pricing plans

Writing in the Financial Times, Andrew Jack discusses a new report from UK think-tank 2020Health, which criticizes government plans to introduce a system of value-based pricing for selected drugs from 2014. Despite this relatively short timescale, plans for how a VBP system would operate are still nebulous and the system has previously come under fire from other bodies.

The report (which is not yet on the group’s website) contends that value-based pricing “conceals an avalanche of problems” and that “the apparent sophistication” would expose patients requiring high-priced drugs to public scrutiny. It claims that “doctors, charities and the media may see value-based pricing not as something in which the government believes, but rather as a way of hiding behind jargon and intellectual dishonesty in order to justify what will increasingly feel like largely arbitrary rationing of expensive drugs”

The report concludes that it would be better to remain with a variant of the current system, with companies free to set prices for their drugs while capping profits or reducing prices of older drugs already on the market to compensate new drugs’ higher prices.