ABPI comment on BGMA proposals for a new Voluntary Scheme

The ABPI shares the BGMA’s frustration at the economic damage being done by the current Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) and notes its new publication on these issues.

The solution to these shared challenges must be a completely new approach, balanced across all segments of the branded medicines market, including branded generics and biosimilars, to benefit patients, the NHS and the economy.

The BGMA is right to warn of the current and future damage the unprecedented 26.5% VPAS rebate rate is doing to the UK life sciences industry and the risk this poses to patients. The UK is falling down the rankings as a launch market for new medicines, and the risks of existing products being withdrawn from the UK, or redirected to other more favourable markets, are very real.

Although negotiations for a new scheme are already well underway, the BGMA proposals, published in June, are consistent with those it presented in the extensive industry-wide ABPI consultation and government workshops that preceded the start of negotiations in May.

In its report, the BGMA argues that branded generics and biosimilars face greater market competition, and have seen lower growth over the life of the 2019 VPAS, resulting in an effective subsidy for on-patent medicines within the Scheme. However, the acute challenges faced by branded generic and biosimilar manufacturers in the UK are unfortunately not unique. They are being felt across the whole branded medicines industry - driven by the UK’s extreme and unprecedented departure from historic, internationally comparable and competitive sales rebate rates.

The solution to these problems must be a sustainable approach to medicines provision which rapidly brings industry revenue payments in line with comparator countries to unlock investment and growth. This is why the ABPI, following extensive consultation with all parts of the industry, proposed a fixed payment rate be levied across all eligible NHS sales, as set out in our March Crossroads report. This remains the best option to bring greater stability to all stakeholders on UK branded medicines provision, benefitting investment, security of supply and NHS financial management.

Working across the sector, we can boost UK science and create the conditions for all medicines to deliver their true value as an investment in the nation’s health, wealth, and productivity.


Last modified: 15 June 2023

Last reviewed: 15 June 2023

The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines. We represent companies of all sizes who invest in discovering the medicines of the future. 

Our members supply cutting edge treatments that improve and save the lives of millions of people. We work in partnership with Government and the NHS so patients can get new treatments faster and the NHS can plan how much it spends on medicines. Every day, we partner with organisations in the life sciences community and beyond to transform lives across the UK.