Aim: Global expenditure on medicines is rising up to 6% per year driven by increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and new premium priced medicines for cancer, orphan diseases and other complex areas. This is difficult to sustain without reforms. Methods: Extensive narrative review of published papers and contextualizing the findings to provide future guidance. Results: New models are being introduced to improve the managed entry of new medicines including managed entry agreements, fair pricing approaches and monitoring prescribing against agreed guidance. Multiple measures have also successfully been introduced to improve the prescribing of established medicines. This includes encouraging greater prescribing of generics and biosimilars versus originators and patented medicines in a class to conserve resources without compromising care. In addition, reducing inappropriate antibiotic utilization. Typically, multiple measures are the most effective. Conclusion: Multiple measures will be needed to attain and retain universal healthcare.
Keywords: COVID-19; antimicrobials; biosimilars; demand-side measures; generics; guidelines; managed entry; oncology; orphan medicines; quality indicators; statins.