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Trump’s Brexit trade plan is bad for NHS, say campaigners

People’s Vote claims US wants to end NHS’ current regime of controlling drug costs

brexit

In the midst of the US administration’s objectives for a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK is a section calling for “procedural fairness” for pharmaceuticals, which is raising hackles in some quarters.

The People’s Vote campaign – which is seeking a second Brexit referendum – has published its interpretation of the US objectives and says Washington is trying to do away with UK rules that limit what can be charged for drugs under the NHS and will lead to higher prices for patients.

The small paragraph under the heading ‘Procedural fairness for pharmaceuticals and medical devices’ reads as follows: “Seek standards to ensure that government regulatory reimbursement regimes are transparent, provide procedural fairness, are nondiscriminatory, and provide full market access for US products.”

People’s Vote claims this means that the US wants to put an end to the NHS’ current regime of controlling drug costs and potentially the opening of the UK market to “US-style direct-marketing of drugs”.

MP Jo Stevens (pictured below), who is a leading supporter of the campaign, said in a statement that “Donald Trump’s administration has now made it clear just what it will be demanding from the UK in return for a trade deal - and one of those things is that we let big US companies run riot in the NHS.”

Jo Stevens

“One demand of the US is that the NHS pay more to US drug companies and that that US drug companies, the very corporations that have caused the opioids crisis in their home countries through reckless marketing and pressure on doctors, get full access to the NHS – long a demand from US mega-lobbyists in the pay of big pharma,” she added.

The approach seems somewhat at odds with Trump’s own plan to reform drug prices in the US by using a reference index based on what is charged in other countries, including the UK.

While food standards and particularly the risk of chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef entering the UK market are capturing the headlines, the campaign also points to other worrying elements of the document.

Those include an end to restrictions on the personal data being sent to the US, and allowing the resale of industrial goods in the UK that are currently banned as waste. The latter could mean that products now banned because they may contain material dangerous to human health – like asbestos fibres – would be allowed to be sold in the UK, it asserts.

Article by
Phil Taylor

4th March 2019

From: Healthcare

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