Transparency in the pharmaceutical sector – where next?

10 October 2016

Within all sectors of the economy transparency is on the increase. Whether it be directors’ pay or patients choosing hospitals, the directional trend is very clear. Within the pharma sector itself there are already strong moves to increase transparency around clinical trials, reporting of adverse events and national codes of conduct such as that of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). All of a sudden information that was previously considered commercially sensitive is available. Academics, as well as patients, are using that information to make judgements about drugs. 

So this begs the question – where next for pharma on the transparency road?

With the French revealing they negotiated payment of €14,000 for 28 tablets from SOVALDI versus the US figure of €84,000 there are now serious questions around how sustainable pricing mechanisms can be against that level of transparency. This is also true of a healthcare system where comparisons are more frequent around price paid versus the listed price.

As with many developed countries, the UK is looking at applying different types of innovative pricing schemes which share risk in different ways with the overall aim of creating a win/win situation for pharma and the healthcare system.

Going forward there are three key challenges to making transparency a reality….

  1. Who, whether it be government or pharma company, is going to be the first to actually step forward and increase pricing transparency?
  1. Where will the first Government/pharma collaboration be?
  1. Who is going to be brave enough to answer the question as to what actually a fair price is?

Transparency comes with challenges but it also comes with a lot of opportunities and, in particular, a lot of potential for the UK to be the first and to act as a pioneer for the rest of the world.


Dr Myrto Lee | Director, Strategy&
Profile | Email | +44 (0)20 7804 8149




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