Proceed with caution: an economic perspective on the UK’s value based pricing proposals

JE Brazier, P Tappenden, S Dixon, J Tosh, P Thokala, M Stevenson, A Tsuhiya


The shift from the Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation Scheme to Value Based Pricing (VBP) is an important change in the way that medicines will be priced, and consequently, reimbursed in the United Kingdom. Whilst the opportunity to purchase new medicines based on value to society is one that should be welcomed, we should proceed with caution. We highlight ten issues that should be considered relating to innovation, the role and meaning of funding threshold and the adjustments to reflect burden of illness, therapeutic innovation and improvement and wider societal factors.
Most importantly, the assessment of value should continue to be based on the characteristics of the displaced activities (e.g. the health produced). To a large extent, all that is changing under VBP are the characteristics being considered; weighted health rather than unweighted health. In addition, we should not totally abandon a cost-utility framework for appraisal just because its current formulation does not match the wider perspective now desired by government.