Big Pharma Implications As UK Judge Rules NHS Responsible For Preventative Drugs

Preventative Drugs Ruling UK Judge: NHS Big Pharma Implications – A UK judge has ruled that the NHS (National Health Service) can fund preventative drugs currently used in US, Canada, France and others. The NHS had argued in court that as taking these drugs was a preventative measure, it wasn’t within the scope of its responsibility.

In the ruling, Mr Justice Green said:

“In my judgement the answer to this conundrum is that NHS England has erred in deciding that it has no power or duty to commission the preventative drugs in issue… NHS England has in any event the power under the legislation to commission preventative treatments; because it facilitates and/or is conducive and/or incidental to the discharge of its broader statutory functions.”


This unprecedented judgement means the NHS is very likely to be responsible for the purchase of preventative drug treatments in the near future.

The Lancet published an article by researchers who have been building upon the preventative medicine work carried out by the late Professor Martin Fisher. Led by Professor Sheena McCormack from the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London, they conclude:


“The impressive reduction in HIV incidence in people taking PrEP, without a measurable increase in other sexually transmitted infections, is reassuring for clinical, community, and public health stakeholders. National health services are under financial constraints, but they cannot afford to ignore the results, which strongly support the addition of PrEP to the current standard of prevention for men who have sex with men at risk of HIV infection.”


It remains unclear as to how this judgement will now impact on the NHS budgets and allocations for such preventative medicines in light of the ruling. Pharmaceutical companies will be watching this story closely in order to be effectively positioned in the market to meet any new buyer demand and specifications from the NHS on these types of drugs.


Will there be pharma regulatory issues arising from this outcome? It’s too early to say. While already in use in France, the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers will need to know whether or not it is likely to also become an issue within EU member states who do not already have this funding approach for preventative medicines, as we continue to face an uncertain post ‘brexit’ pharmaceutical landscape in Europe.

For further insights into the Lancet article you can access the report here