On Thursday 10th March, Stuart Carroll, the Chairman of the Bow Group Health & Education Policy Committee, presented his perspective on the UK Government’s value-based pricing (VBP) policy for drugs and pharmaceuticals in front of an expert delegation of over 100 people at an international health meeting in Bonn, Germany. Comprising representatives from across European healthcare systems, regulators, governments and the pharmaceutical industry, the meeting was hosted by the Biotherapy Development Association (BDA) – a global cooperative group whose primary focus is to develop targeted cancer therapies using biological agents – and focused on the topical issue of the role of health technology appraisal (HTA) in modern healthcare. Mr. Carroll’s presentation followed a direct invitation from the BDA on the back of his recently published Crossbow article ‘Paying for NHS Medicines – How Will Value-Based Pricing Work in the “New NHS”’?, which is available to download below, and was co-authored with Professor Karl Claxton and Professor Mark Sculpher from the University of York. The Coalition Government has pledged to replace the existing Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) by 2014 with a new system that will directly link pharmaceutical pricing to the value of drugs and medicines. As part of this process, the Department of Health has recently consulted on its VBP policy. Key questions include: 1) Should VBP be applied to existing medicines? 2) How should products with multiple indications be priced? 3) How should innovation be encouraged? 4) Which health outcome measures should be used? 5) Are there any types or groups of medicines that should be assessed separately? 6) What transitional arrangements should be put in place leading into 2014? 7) What review mechanisms should be implemented? Speaking about the meeting and delegation, Stuart Carroll, Chairman of the Health & Education Policy Committee, said: “It was a great privilege and opportunity to be invited to such an important international meeting to discuss the potential implications and consequences of the UK Government’s VBP policy in front of such an esteemed and knowledgeable delegation. Although the business of health policy is rightly the responsibility of individual EU member states, the business of pharmaceutical drug pricing transcends domestic boundaries and confers important international considerations. This is not least the case given that the UK market is referenced for price by at least 25% of the global market. At the meeting, I stressed the absolute need for the UK Government to move beyond what at this point is an attractive but so far uncertain concept and to outline at the earliest opportunity a detailed policy that takes account of the Government’s wider reforms being implemented across the “new NHS” and other key issues pertaining to aligning prescriber incentives, ensuring clear market signals and fostering a clear definition and measurement of value”. On the 17th March 2010, Mr. Carroll submitted written evidence to the Department of Health as part of its VBP consultation. For more information on the Bow Group Health & Education Policy Committee, please contact Stuart Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.