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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-12644: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 10 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what impact the fall in the value of the pound has had on the amount that NHS Scotland spends on importing drugs.

Answered by: Shona Robison 22 November 2017

The pharmaceutical industry operates in a global market in which the purchase of drugs is traded in dollars and euros. Currency fluctuations have always been part of the normal course of business for both NHSScotland and suppliers.

I have previously highlighted my concerns that some medicines manufacturers will be less attracted to the UK as a market following Brexit in terms of additional costs related to tariffs and other barriers to direct trade. As a consequence, there could be a negative impact for patients, and the UK Government should seriously consider these very real concerns.

We have received representations in relation to primary care prescribing from community pharmacy contractors that the fall in the value of sterling is a factor in increased procurement costs for some generic medicines. However, the Scottish Government regularly monitors the cost of drugs in primary care and manages reimbursement costs through the Scottish Drug Tariff, minimising the impact of price fluctuations.

In relation to prescribing in hospitals, there have been no significant issues to date but we will continue to monitor in line with our normal practices. Our aim is always to ensure that we get the best value for money for taxpayers.