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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2007

Drug companies squeeze profits out of health

AN OFFICE of Fair Trading (OFT) report says that the NHS is paying the pharmaceutical companies hundreds of millions of pounds too much for drugs. The Department of Health buys 7 billion of branded medicines each year from the big drug companies.

The OFT says the NHS is not getting the best prices for drugs and recommends the overhauling of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme that is supposed to set prices. Especially on drugs such as those to control blood pressure and cholesterol, it said, prices were significantly out of line with patient benefits.

Purchasing medicines takes up about a seventh of the NHS budget. The pharmaceutical companies are the most profitable sector in the economy, their rate of return dwarfing even those of the major banks or the oil industry.

As the NHS feature in the socialist issue 471, pointed out, the pharmaceutical giants "make an average 18% profit but do not reveal how much comes from the NHS. Increasingly they are linked at the top with Department of Health and Downing Street advisers."

OFT's report may get a warm welcome from the Treasury that wants to make big savings on the health service. However, there will be ferocious opposition from the drugs giants and also from their placemen in the government's ranks.

Socialists want an NHS that is able to carry out its vital work without shareholders' profits being the biggest concern. The pharmaceutical companies and other industries making profits out of the NHS such as the medical supplies industry, should be nationalised under democratic workers' control and management.

Roger Shrives

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 22 February 2007:

Bush & Blair: Get out of Iraq

Iraq 'surge' doomed to failure

Italy: Thousands march against US military base


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

No to Trident!

North Korea: Talks achieve new accord

Anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist? Read the socialist!


Socialist Students

Students can defeat fees

Another profit-making racket

Living in debt - with no advice

Defend further education


Socialist Party Congress

The politics of socialism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Justice for the Shrewsbury pickets

Children at the sharp end of British capitalism

Banking billionaires

Drug companies squeeze profits out of health

Hospitals crisis worsens

Fighting homophobia


Environment

Climate change - we have to act now


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

CWI world congress: How will new workers' parties be built?


Workplace news and analysis

Valentine's day protest

Unique Care workers plan more protests

Israeli postal workers storm trade union HQ


 

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Related links:

Health:

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The fight for women's health to be a trade union issue

triangleBoot private companies out of our NHS

triangleNHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies

triangleCovid workplace safety

Drug companies:

triangleRich countries hoarding vaccine is danger to us all

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Nationalise the drug companies

triangleBig drugs companies dodge 3 billion pounds in tax

NHS:

triangleSocial care: End privatisation and let workers decide how it's run

triangleTory consultation on home-use abortion pills

Pharmaceutical:

triangleVaccine confidence - a worker's response

Drugs:

triangleBrighton & Hove Socialist Party: Legalisation of drugs?

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