Projected spending for brand-name drugs in English primary care given US prices: a cross-sectional study.

U.S. President Trump has always insisted other countries pays more for prescription drugs, and has openly said the UK's National Health Service would form part of negotiations over a possible future trade deal between the two countries. 

One key objective has been to tackle 'government regulatory reimbursement regimes', otherwise referred to in the U.K. as NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). These schemes are seen by the Americans as discriminatory and therefore preventing full market access for 'made in the USA' drugs. Attempts to weaken NICE, for example by watering down its pricing thresholds, could potentially lead to higher prices in the U.K.

According to a new study published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicineif NHS England had paid U.S. prices for the 50 costliest drugs used in primary care in 2018, the country would have spent 4.6 times more, an increase from £1.39 billion to £6.42 billion.

NHS England would have spent over £5 billion more on the 50 drugs if it had paid U.S. prices in 2018.

While both nations are working on a range of external trade deals and it remains unclear whether the NHS or prescription drug prices will be included in any final deal, the paper does sounds a note of caution around UK's NICE and the results if current cost-containment mechanisms were compromised.