NHS Saving £300M by Instructing Providers to Not Prescribe Branded Drugs Including Humira

NHS Saving £300M by Instructing Providers to Not Prescribe Branded Drugs Including Humira TrialsiteN

In just 12 months, the British national provider reports a savings of 300 million UK Pounds by encouraging providers across the UK to stop prescribing higher-priced branded drugs and switch to economical biosimilars. NHS slashed its Humira price tag by £110M alone by switching to a Humira biosimilar. Hospitals spend £290 million on adalimumab mostly for arthritis. Overall, NHS has cut its drug spend by 29%.

NHS Background

The National Health Service is a publicly funded national healthcare system for England and one of the four National Health Services for each constituent country of the United Kingdom (UK). It is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world. Primarily funded through the government funding and overseen by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England provides healthcare to all legal English residents, with most services free at the point of use. Some services are free for all, including emergency care and infectious disease treatment.

The National Health Service in England, NHS Scotland, NHS Wales and the affiliated Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern Ireland were established together in 1948 as one of the major social reforms following World War II. A social leaning at the time driven by ravages of world war, the UK population and its political class generally aligned on the need for a comprehensive, universal, and free health care service. Each service offers a comprehensive range of health services, which is most often free at the point of care for people ordinarily residents in the UK apart from dental and optical care. The English NHS does require patients to pay prescription charges with a range of exemptions from these charges.

How does the NHS Buy Medicines?

NHS drug spend increases about 5% per year totaling approximately $17 billion in 2017, according to the Herald Publicist. Much of this growth has occurred at the hospital sector as average costs grow at 12% since 2010-11. Hospitals today account for almost 50% of total NHS drug spend.

Drugs are deemed eligible if they are permitted by the Nationwide Institute Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The systems undertakes a “funds affect check” to verify the pharmaceutical company pricing. Once NICE has determined eligibility and pricing parameters, the well-being service can opt for purchase.

It is reported that the NHS England can move into negotiation mode with biopharma and other suppliers if the drug price rises above £20 million for 12 months throughout any of the primary three years of its use.


The NHS has claimed to have saved nearly £294 million this past 12 months. This “crackdown” enabled the “cash-strapped” NHS to cut its costs on Humira (off patent in the UK in 2018) by £110 million alone within the last 12 months (29% savings). The total spend on adalimumab has been £290 million mostly for arthritis as well as Crohn’s disease.

Call to Action: NHS reports a list of the branded drugs it saves money on with a switch to biosimilars and generic drug alternatives. Follow the link to the source at the Herald Publicist for the figures.