Monday, May 14, 2007

Big Pharma rules UK?

From the BBC: "Cancer doctors have told the BBC they fear the NHS will not be able to afford the new generation of cancer drugs."

The cost of drugs has been rising at about 7% every year compared with the rest of the costs of the NHS at about 3%. Big pharma has the NHS over a barrel and spend a great deal of time selling its wares through talking to patient groups, doctors and the media. Headlines such as 'NHS refuses to treat alzheimers patients' are a clear example - perhaps it is because the new drug is unproven, unreliable, ineffective , and therefore pointless.

Big pharma have been running away with this and there are no easy solutions. For greedy corporate capitalists it must be heaven to work in a sector with a guarenteed 7% year on year increase.

The Green Party policy is clear on medicines:

H318 Novel compounds will not be introduced into general use unless they can be shown to have significant advantages over existing drugs. Limited list prescribing will be extended across the full range of pharmaceuticals. The direct advertising of prescription- only medicines to the medical profession will cease. Information to the medical profession will be the responsibility of medical schools and independent authorities with no vested interest in companies which manufacture or market pharmaceuticals.

H319 The Green Party recognises the huge profits made by the drug companies out of the NHS. This is often through a form of cartel pricing, and we do not believe it is right that the National Health Service as a public health service should have to pay unfair prices. Therefore we will set up an independent NHS Pharmaceutical Body with power to set the price of drugs provided to the NHS. The Body will be composed of doctors, healthcare professionals, economists, and a legally trained chairperson, which will look at the cost of research and development in drugs and their manufacture, and receive evidence from chemists, the pharmaceutical companies, and other countries' health services. The Body will then decide what is a fair price for a drug which is to be provided to the NHS by the manufacturer, and that will be the price which the NHS will pay for the drug.


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