The NHS has saved more than £700 million from the annual medicines bill to reinvest in new treatments as part of the Long Term Plan.
An NHS-wide campaign has supported patients and doctors to maximise the use of ‘generic’ and best value ‘biologic’ treatments to treat conditions including arthritis and cancer.
New figures show that the uptake of best value medicines lowered costs to taxpayers by £294 million last year alone, on track to meet its ambitious target of a further £400 million annual savings by 2021.
A single drug – adalimumab – treatment for arthritis and other diseases, saved £110 million alone thanks to a ‘smart procurement’, after the drug came off patent at the end of 2018.
Previously adalimumab was the individual medicine on which hospitals spend the most, at a cost of more than £400 million a year.
Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but as part of the Long Term Plan, we will continue to drive changes to ensure every NHS pound is spent wisely and patients have access to innovative life changing medicines.
“Use of the best value versions of expensive medicines is already delivering effective treatment for patients across the NHS, including those with cancer, offering the right care for patients while saving the tax payer hundreds of millions of pounds.”
The savings for 2018-19 come on top of the £413 million saved from the annual medicines bill in the previous two years by maximising the use of best value generic and biologic treatments.