As part of the UK government's drive to save £2.3 billion in the NHS during 2010-11, £550m will be cut from the prices of branded drugs as a result of the revised Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. With the volume of branded drugs having remained flat over the last four years, total sales of the UK branded pharmaceutical industry are forecast to decline from 2009 onwards, say analysts Datamonitor.
Due to the global economic downturn, branded pharmaceutical sales are suffering in countries such as the US, which lack a nationalised healthcare system. The rising number of unemployed, and therefore uninsured patients, are switching to cheaper generic alternatives, the result of which will be a knock on effect on branded prescription drug sales, which are now forecast to decline by 1-2% in 2009 (IMS Health).
This is not the case however in the UK, where patient out-of-pocket costs are capped at £7.20 ($10) for prescriptions of either generic or branded drugs (where no generic is available). Moreover, in many cases, the prescription charge is waived due to the financial status of the patient. Nevertheless, the global economic downturn has exacerbated challenges that branded drug makers face in the UK market.
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