Atorvastatin Tabs 20mg 28 was launched in the UK in May 2012 and since then the price has declined gradually. However, there have been some price rises along the way which have been very noticeable. The first of these happened in 2013, the second in 2020 and the third may be happening now.
A number of things can learnt from the graph. The first is that the price increases were often preceded by substantial price falls. This shows that before the price increase happened, prices fell to unprofitable levels causing some manufacturers to withdraw, available stock to be used up by dispensing and competition for the remaining stock to push prices up. This product has never been granted a concession price (NCSO) by the department of health (DHSC), which means that the supply chain was sufficiently resilient to withstand a temporary shortage, and manufacturers were able to inject more stock into pharmacies and dispensing doctors before things became critical.
Another thing which can be seen from the graph is that the drug tariff for this category M product closely followed the average market price. However, the two are not quite in parallel, with the market price normally rising or falling about six months before the drug tariff. In a couple of cases, such as now, this lag happened in the opposite sense, with the drug tariff moving first.
The prices which tipped manufacturers into loss and resulted in price rises were £0.67 in 2013, £0.42 in 2018 and £0.41 in 2022. The decline in this ‘trigger’ price may demonstrate decreases in manufacturing costs or efficiency improvements. But the two most recent triggers of £0.42 and £0.41 may demonstrate that this is the market price to avoid if price rises and shortages are to be avoided.