Department of Health pregabalin price concessions

Department of Health pregabalin price concessions

August 17, 2017

The Department of Health (DH) has this week announced concession prices for some strengths of pregabalin; £19.95 for 56 capsules (150mg) or 84 capsules (50mg).  Prices for the other strengths are still under discussion.

Following the expiry of the final pregabalin patent and NHS England guidance published in July 2017, pregabalin was switched to Category M from 1st August 2017.

PSNC routinely monitors contractor margins and the availability of medicines at Drug Tariff prices, and we have raised concerns about pregabalin and the need for a managed transition to Category M with DH. The entry prices for pregabalin into Category M were lower than current market prices, and since then, PSNC has received hundreds of reports from contractors about the availability and pricing of pregabalin, warning that it is not available at the Drug Tariff prices.

We requested a price concession immediately in August, based on the reports we received, and have been since been in discussion with DH. Concession prices for products we have reached agreement on so far have been published here.

Thank you to all contractors who have shared information on pregabalin prices with us. This information continues to provide vital evidence for our ongoing discussions with DH, so please do continue to send us information via the online form.

We will share more information regarding prices for other pregabalin strengths (as well as other products in discussion) via our website and email newsletters as soon as it is available.

Contractors are reminded that concessions granted at any point during the month are retrospective for the whole month.

PSNC Director of Pharmacy Funding Mike Dent said:

“PSNC has been concerned about pregabalin for some time, and we had hoped for a more managed transition to Category M than we have seen. We requested a price concession this month as soon as we were able to, and we are extremely grateful to all contractors who have taken the time to share information with us, as this forms a vital part of our evidence base.

We will continue to raise our concerns with the DH, using the evidence we receive. We are also pressing the Department for decisions on other strengths as we know the disruption that late announcements can cause for contractors.  PSNC will also, of course, continue its vital work to monitor margins.”

Background information on the pregabalin patent

Pregabalin came off patent for the final protected use (treatment of neuropathic pain) in July 2017. Prior to this, generic and branded generic stock had been available for some time, but could not be dispensed if the prescription was for the protected use.

DH sought to switch pregabalin in the Drug Tariff to Category M in July 2017, however at that point NHS guidance was still that pregabalin should only be prescribed for the treatment of neuropathic pain under the brand name Lyrica, and as such PSNC resisted this change.

NHS England subsequently released new guidance to state that following the expiry of the patent, prescribing and dispensing should be in accordance with normal practice, i.e. effectively retracting the previously issued 2015 guidance. Pregabalin was therefore scheduled to switch to Category M in August.

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