Donald Trump, when asked if the NHS should be on the table for any post-Brexit trade deals replied, ” No, not at all, I have nothing to do with it. Never even thought about it, honestly … I don’t even know where that rumour started. We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn’t want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter, we want nothing to do with it.”.
Jeremy Corbyn had previously found evidence to the contrary and 451 pages of unredacted documents have been circulated. Boris Johnson has repeatedly denied that the NHS would be part of any future trade deals. Yet, why did the Tories and the Liberal Democrats vote against Labour’s amendment to the Queen’s Speech in October which would specifically exclude the NHS from any such deals? See Trumping the NHS.
MEDICINES FOR PROFIT
The Independent reports, (3rd December) that Tory minister Dominic Raab has now admitted the US would be able to ramp up the cost of drugs bought by the NHS after Brexit, but insisted the prospect is “hugely unlikely”.
Asked if Washington would be free to “jack up prices”, the Foreign Secretary replied: “The Americans will take their decisions.”He then claimed: “I think it’s hugely unlikely, why would they do that?” – prompting Sky News interviewer Adam Boulton to say: “To get more money that’s why.” Who would have the upper hand do you think in such a scenario?
The US has demanded “full market access” in the NHS and is known to want to end the ability of NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), which regulates medicine prices in the UK, in order to block drugs it does not consider value for money. Such a trade deal, would therefore give the US carte-blanche to hike the prices for patented drugs.
The Labour Party, have plans to introduce a publicly owned pharmaceutical manufacturer which would make generic drugs at cost price in the UK, providing both good well paid jobs and also good value for the NHS. The Tories have no such plans and continue to work with private high pricing drug companies. See Labour’s document: Medicines for the Many:
Labour sets out in detail policies to address the problems besetting the NHS regarding drugs
Our proposals address the fundamental problems in the current model:
- a) Pharmaceutical companies’ research and development activities are not aligned with public health needs.
- b) The lack of transparency across the pharmaceutical model stifles innovation, and the NHS fails to manage data as a core NHS asset in the healthcare innovation process.
- c) The NHS acts too often as price taker, rather than a price setter, despite being the main buyer of pharmaceuticals in the UK. As a result, out-of-reach drug prices burden the NHS budget or mean that the NHS is unable to provide medicines to patients that need them.
- d) A highly financialised pharmaceutical industry is focused on maximising profits in the short term in order to generate the highest shareholder value. Extensive public funding supports the basic science behind pharmaceutical innovation, and yet the public gets barely any return on that investment when the research is commercialized.
- e) Policymaking serves the pharmaceutical lobby, not patients.
GENE SEQUENCING AND HEALTH INSURANCE
Matt Hancock’s desire to have databases of the genomes of the entire new born population has ominous implications, in that children born with certain genetics disorders could be denied treatment by the insurance companies.
Other concerns regarding the Tories and Genetics, have eugenic undertones of concern. Now where does this stand in History?
*Genetics outweighs teaching, Gove adviser tells his boss
*Dominic Cummings, Gove’s advisor, argued that Sure Start centres should be shut as learning is about genetics so it’s a waste spending money educating the poor. Cummings admires E O Wilson, sociobiologist.
* And now Matt Hancock wants the genomes mapped for all newborns so that NHS Insurance companies can deny cover to ‘risky patients’ as in the USA. Reminiscent of who in History?