U.K., pharma group reach deal for how the NHS pays for medicines

LONDON — The U.K. and the pharmaceutical industry have reached a deal on a five-year plan outlining how the health system pays for drugs, as the country tries to keep a lid on its medicines spending while simultaneously build up its life sciences industry.

The plan, which goes into effect next year, was announced Monday in a joint statement from the government, England’s National Health Service, and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. It followed a negotiation period that was shadowed by companies warning that what they said were the unfriendly terms of the current deal were driving them to invest outside the U.K.

Both the industry and health officials argued the new deal would save the NHS billions of pounds over the five years, show how the U.K. was being ambitious in enabling access to new drugs, and foster the growth of the biopharma sector, a key priority of the government.

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