Drugs giant threatens to quit UK over prices

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A senior Sanofi-Aventis executive has warned that the pharmaceutical giant could move investment away from the UK if the NHS reduces the prices it pays for branded medicines.

In an unprecedented move, the Government decided to renegotiate the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), the pricing contract with pharmaceutical companies. PPRS usually lasts five years, but ministers invoked a six-month notice clause that has allowed it to renegotiate prices two years early.

Belé*Garijo, Sanofi-Aventis senior vice-president of operations in Europe and Canada, said: "In the PPRS negotiations we expect to have a strong commitment, reflected in financing innovative products at the right price level, otherwise we will have to rethink how we are investing here when there are emerging markets."

Garijo added that prices in the UK were already "almost the lowest in Europe".

Marc Cluzel, head of R&D at Sanofi-Aventis, said that the company is looking to accelerate its expansion drive in China.

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