Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/774/17126
The Socialist 17 July 2013 |
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Another drugs company scam
Up to £100 million has been stolen from the public purse by profit-hungry pharmaceutical companies according to the British Medical Association (BMA).
A 'legal loophole' that allows drugs to be "flipped" between one company and another can push up the price of drugs by up to 2,000%.
Companies can sell on medicines used by the NHS to companies that are not included in the government's price-regulation scheme, who can then simply change the name of the drug and massively increase the price.
The NHS is scammed out of more and more money for the same products - potentially leading to the NHS being priced-out of using particular treatments.
The worst example is a drug previously called Epanutin and costing 67p per 50mg, now called Phenytoin and costing £16 per 50mg.
The drug is prescribed to about 100,000 sufferers of epilepsy and the price increase will mean an extra £50 million cost to the NHS.
The BMA is calling for the legal loophole to be closed - this must be done immediately. But this isn't the first or only scandalous practice by multinational pharmaceutical companies that's bleeding the NHS dry.
It was recently revealed that 14 hospital trusts are said to be failing. The government is demanding £20 billion of 'efficiency savings' from the NHS.
Surely the biggest efficiency saving would be to cut off the billions of pounds given to corrupt drug companies who only have an interest in profit, not healthcare.
The pharmaceutical companies should be nationalised under democratic working class control and management so that NHS workers and patients can decide what medicines are needed and scrutinise practices and pricing.
We demand a fully funded healthcare system freed from the iron grip of private vultures.
Join the national demonstration outside the Tory Party conference, called by the North West TUC and backed by the national TUC, Unite and Unison in Manchester on Sunday 29 September. Join the NSSN contingent on the demo to demand a 24-hour general strike.