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NHS set to save billions as drug patents expire

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Healthcare providers could save as much as £3.3bn a year when patents on leading drugs expire in 2014, independent market analyst Datamonitor has claimed.

Expiring patents open up the market to competition from generic versions of the products, driving prices down significantly.

Rival pharmaceutical companies are able to sell their own versions at lower prices because they have not had to invest in research, development and testing.

Alistair Sinclair, lead strategic healthcare analyst at Datamonitor, said: “The recent UK budget called for the Department of Health and National Health Service to cut costs by £4.35bn as part of the government’s proposal to save £11bn a year by 2012.

“Therefore, the potential savings derived from the expiry of key branded drugs could not have come at a better time for the NHS, and will have no impact on service delivery.”

On average, generics in the EU are sold at a 34 per cent reduction. Savings are even greater in the US, at around 80 per cent.

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