NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Generic Drug Prices Rise In Britain

October 29, 1999

The British government has order an inquiry into the generic drugs market has been ordered by amid evidence that some non-branded drugs now cost seven times the prices charged a year ago, reports the British Medical Journal.

  • In the past year, the antibiotic amoxicillin, for example, has risen from 47p ($0.75) to £1.69 for a 250 mg pack of tablets.
  • A 100 mg pack of thyroxine has gone up in price from 21p to £1.62.
  • And a 40 mg pack of the diuretic frusemide (furosemide) costs £2.14, compared with 26p in September 1998.

Over the same period the number of generic drugs classified by the Department of Health as in short supply has increased from 30 to 190. In the case of these medicines, known as category D list drugs, doctors and pharmacists may prescribe and dispense more expensive brand name alternatives.

The rises could add £200m ($320m) to the National Health Service annual drug bill if current trends continue, according to Labor Member of Parliament Peter Bradley. Bradley commented that, "A lot of doctors are suspicious that this is the drugs industry hitting back against government attempts to get better value for money from drug budgets."

Source: Judy Jones, "Government Orders Inquiry as Price of Generic Drugs Soars," British Medical Journal, October 30, 1999.


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