Win as Priadel remains available for patients

A new low price for Priadel, a lithium medication used by bipolar patients, has been agreed between the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the drug’s manufacturer, Essential Pharma.

The move follows a campaign by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the College of Mental Health pharmacy, the Royal College of GPs and patient groups to stop the withdrawal of Priadel. The manufacturer also owned the other main brand of lithium, Camcolit, which costs almost 12 times more than Priadel.

The proposed withdrawal meant thousands of vulnerable patients were faced with switching treatment, which can destabilize individuals and is a lengthy and complicated process.

RPS wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock in September alongside campaign partners to urge him to stop the proposed withdrawal of Priadel, and to refer the matter to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which considered the issue in October.

Essential Pharma has now offered commitments which include continuing to supply Priadel on terms agreed with the DHSC, which are £7.50 for 200mg tablets per pack of Priadel and £8.50 for 400mg tablets per pack. This is significantly less than the price of Camcolit, which is £48.18 per pack of 400mg tablets.

RPS President Sandra Gidley said: “This is a victory for patients, the NHS and the public purse.

“We’re delighted that negotiations on the price of Priadel have come to this positive conclusion for patients with bipolar disorder. They will now be able to remain on the drug that keeps them stable.

“In the future companies must be prevented from exploiting the system to better support patient care and the NHS.”

Read the announcement of the Competition and Markets Authority decision.