FINANCE: Commissioners across Greater Manchester plan to lobby the government to ensure money given to the NHS by drug companies as part of a national pricing deal is available for use in the region.

The pharmaceutical price regulation scheme, agreed between the government and the pharmaceutical industry, dictates that any money paid by the NHS for drugs above an agreed annual cap will be returned to the Department of Health.

While the five year deal, which began in January last year, does not dictate how the government must spend PPRS rebate payments, anticipated repayments for 2014-15 and 2015-16 have been passed to NHS England through the NHS mandate.  

NHS England said last May that these payments, which add up to approximately £1bn over 2014-15 and 2015-16, have already been added to clinical commissioning group allocations based on estimated drug spending.

However, Simon Wootton, chief operating officer of North Manchester CCG said his organisation had not been able to access the extra funds.

Mr Wootton said: “I know in north Manchester we haven’t got that PPRS money back into the [local] NHS.

“Our request from a Greater Manchester perspective is to go back to NHS England and say, ‘We want that money in Greater Manchester, we haven’t currently got that’.

“So that’s one of the requests we will be making as part of the comprehensive spending review [due to take place after the general election].”

Mr Wootton made his comments to delegates at the annual conference of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry trade association on Thursday.

Asked by HSJ after the event to clarify his comments, Mr Wootton added: “My point is around the potential of PPRS money to be used by CCGs for the benefit of patients. And it is difficult to see from the baseline details and different thresholds how money is allocated. North Manchester CCG will work with NHS England to identify where it appears in our baseline allocation.”

He also confirmed that the lobbying will take place on behalf all Greater Manchester CCGs.

The association, which represents drug companies in pricing negotiations between industry and the government, estimates that the sector will return £4bn to the NHS over the life of the agreement.