Reputation – General public: Access to new medicines Read more about the public’s opinions about access to new medicines in the UK

Public perceptions of access to medicines are largely unchanged since 2022

Public perceptions of access to medicines in the UK are static. As in 2022, nearly half (47%) agree people in the UK can access the latest medicines and often see this as one of the benefits of the NHS.

Those who disagree (19%) or are unsure (25%) believe costs are a factor. Among these, some question why certain life-saving medicines exist in other markets but are not readily available in the UK, while others see access as a “postcode lottery”. That said, many admit lacking sufficient knowledge to know or speak about access to medicines in the UK.

I often read that people have to travel abroad to access things not available here
Don't know enough to have a strong opinion but sometimes hear in the news that treatments not offered in the UK are available in other countries. Deemed too costly here for the NHS but what is the point of new treatments if they are not even offered to those patients who may benefit.
It is all down to cost and a post code lottery, some areas have access and others don't. Pharmaceutical companies charge too much for the NHS to be able to afford the cutting edge medicines and hold them back for the private market

Two in five (39%) people agree that pharmaceutical companies operating in the UK take action to address health inequalities. Few – just 15% - disagree this is the case. Ethnic minorities and Londoners are more likely than the population overall to agree this is the case, as well as those who are close to the sector and who trust it in general.

Last modified: 24 August 2023

Last reviewed: 24 August 2023