The Trump administration has promised to use American muscle in trade negotiations to force health services, including the NHS, to pay much more for drugs to American corporations. They are putting big business first, not patients.
The high price of breast cancer drug Perjeta means it is not currently available to patients in Scotland, but is available in England and Wales. How do we make sure essential medicines are affordable for everyone in the UK?
Campaign groups Global Justice Now and STOPAIDS have welcomed a statement by NHS England to the BBC’s 5 Live Investigates this morning that “further regulatory action may be needed” on drug pricing at a time when NHS funding is under severe pressure.
Treatments for cancer, arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS) are among drugs costing the cash-strapped NHS over a billion pounds a year – despite public funding playing a substantial role in the medicines’ development.
As the NHS turns 70, it is locked in a crisis of underfunding. The reasons are many, from government funding cuts to the massive debts racked up as a result of Private Finance Initiatives. But one factor that gets less notice is the rip-off prices the pharmaceutical industry charges for a huge range of drugs.
This briefing for MPs and parliamentarians documents examples of where publicly funded research and development has led to drugs that the public have found difficult to access. It calls for conditions to be attached to public research to ensure drugs are affordable for all patients.