Department of Health data shows that the National Health Service is on course to make its £5bn savings this year as part of the QIPP Agenda. The QIPP Agenda (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) – the large-scale transformational programme for the NHS that seeks to improve the quality of care the NHS delivers while making up to £20billion of efficiency savings by 2014-15, which will be reinvested in frontline care. Medicines are due to be cut by £447m by April 2013 according to the announcement, second only to efficiencies in acute services. This is a large amount, but still less than the £700m savings from the medicine budget made last year as part of £5.8bn total savings in that period.
However, there has been criticism and concern over how the drug costs have been cut, with many coming simply from NHS bodies not using expensive drugs. This is not what the QIPP Agenda is about – instead, it seeks to achieve efficiency and reward innovation rather than simply cutting on cost alone. The Government’s recent introduction of the NICE scorecard aims to name and shame NHS bodies that are restricting access to NICE-approved drugs. From April 2013, NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups will need to publish details of the drugs which are on their local formularies to see how they match up to the NICE Scorecard.