Skip to main content

Increased spend on generic drugs

In 2016-17, based on list prices and before any discounts, the NHS spent £17.4 billion on medicines. In recent months the prices of some generic medicines, which are copies of brand-named drugs, have increased. This is creating unexpected pressure on the budgets of clinical commissioning groups.

The Comptroller and Auditor General has started an investigation of the extent of, and response to, increased expenditure on generic drugs in the NHS. We expect to examine:

  • the extent of the increased spend on generic drugs;
  • the causes for the increase in prices of generic medicine; and
  • the response of the Department of Health and Social Care and its arm’s-length bodies to the increase in expenditure.

If you would like to provide evidence for our work please email the study team on, putting the study title in the subject line. The team will consider the evidence you provide; however, please note that due to the volume of information we receive we may not respond to you directly. If you need to raise a concern please use our contact form.