In light of the increases to the rebates that branded and brand-generic manufacturers have to return to the NHS under the VPAS voluntary and statutory schemes, with forecast rebates of 25% in 2023 we thought it worth having a look at the amount of effort each type of manufacturer puts in to advertising its products to pharmacies and dispensing doctors in price lists.
The graph shows that the branded generic companies took a rapidly increasing ‘share of voice’ from 2012 to 2017, with some further growth continuing until 2020. However, since then their share of the price list advertising space has levelled out at about 63%. Branded generics gave companies the opportunity to make improvements to the standard generic product in return for the possibility of branded prescriptions. Some manufacturers used the brand name to do deals with surgeries and CCGs in which GPs prescribed the branded generic under its brand name and in return the pharmaceutical company provided other services for without charge.
But because generic prices are low due to the competition between manufacturers and because branded generics are mostly pinned to the drug tariff price, there is very little profit to be returned to the NHS as a rebate. Having to return a slice of what profit there is to the NHS may damage the attractiveness of branded generics for entrepreneurs and financiers, and may redirect their attention to other forms of investment.
Additionally, some generic manufacturers put brand names on their generics and sell them both as generics for generic prescriptions and as branded generics for branded prescriptions. They will need to separate the branded from the generic sales to ensure they don’t get charged the NHS rebate for generic open market sales. It might be possible to use UK prescription data such as in Scriptmap.co.uk to do this, but the NHS may want a slice of the generic business due to the presence of a brand name.