ABPI proposes ‘Voluntary Scheme for Pricing, Access and Growth’ to support NHS and economic growth


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The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has proposed a Voluntary Scheme for Pricing, Access and Growth (VPAG) that aims to deliver a sustainable approach to medicines provision and maximise the growth potential of the UK life sciences industry.

It has published the industry’s vision for a new agreement with the government which will deliver for patients, the NHS and the economy.

VPAG also includes measures to ensure rapid patient access and adoption of new medicines, as well as opportunities to improve health outcomes and productivity for the whole country.

The association’s proposals consist of four key areas: restoring an internationally competitive commercial environment for life sciences; supporting UK clinical research and R&D; ensuring rapid patient access and uptake of new medicines; and improving population health and productivity through health innovation.

The proposal would deliver over £1bn a year to the NHS – around £300m more than the average delivered under the old scheme before 2023, and comfortably more than the highest contributions ever made before the pandemic.

“The Investment Facility would be provided by a 1.5% premium on NHS sales paid by scheme members in addition to the scheme payment rate. The fund could be used to support key shared priorities like boosting NHS clinical trial capacity and delivery, expanding UK Genomics capacity, and building the UK capability to use real-world data to improve the speed, diversity and efficiency of recruitment into clinical trials. Such enhancements would strengthen the UK’s ability to attract the next wave of inward investment in life sciences,” said ABPI.

“The Investment Facility would also fund a Medicines Equity Partnership operating across the four nations of the UK. That Partnership would improve health outcomes and productivity for the whole country by addressing barriers that prevent the timely uptake of new medicines that have been approved by AWMSG, NICE and the SMC.”

Another key proposal is for companies to commit to prioritising the UK as an early launch market, seeking a GB licence on new medicines in their first wave of regulatory filings. The association said: “This would rely on a number of improvements to the UK’s regulatory approach to support rapid access to, and adoption of, new medicines and would enable the UK to regain and sustain its position as a ‘first wave’ country for new medicine launches.”

Richard Torbett, Chief Executive at the ABPI said: “The life sciences industry in the UK stands at a crossroads. The current direction of travel is leading away from success and we must act urgently to turn this around. A new Voluntary Scheme for Pricing, Access and Growth provides the opportunity for a new settlement, placing the UK’s life sciences sector back on the path for future growth.

“Securing this vision will require a new mindset and approach from government, system partners and industry. It will require building on the partnership and trust forged during the pandemic. It will require learning from successes like the Vaccine Taskforce, recognising that real progress comes from drawing on the strengths and experience of both the public and the private sectors. Working together, we can create the conditions for innovative medicines to deliver their true value as an investment in the nation’s future health, wealth, and productivity.”

Negotiations to agree on a new deal are due to start in the coming weeks.


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