IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

If we crash out of Europe it will be the end of NHS

22 March, 2019

 Pharmacist Hettal Patel, who recently warned of the ‘stress and duress’ that she is under to keep shelves stocked

• I WAS talking recently to a Labour member, a “Lexiteer” who voted to leave the EU. He smiled at the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

I pointed out that if we fall into the hands of the World Trade Organisation that will mark the end of our beloved NHS as it will be mandatory under WTO rules to break up and sell nationalised industries. He then looked a glum chum.

I am on the patients’ panel of my local GP’s surgery, as well as attending the patients’ participation panel of our Clinical Commissioning Group. I asked six months ago, and again two months ago, about the consequence of Brexit on pharmaceutical supplies.

Back came the reply, twice, from NHS England: “Not to worry as all is in hand and GPs have been told not to over-prescribe drugs to concerned patients and not to concern yourself with exploitative price hikes.”

But we know we have very good reason to be concerned, (Islington pharmacists running short of drugs blaming Brexit and manufacturers ‘hiking prices’, March 15).

Remember the smug-faced, US pharma hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli? I’ll nudge your memory: remember a few years back when Mr Shkreli bumped up the price of an HIV pill from $13 by 5,000 per cent to $750, saying: “Well, the HIV-infected need it, right?”

Mr Shkreli went to jail for securities fraud. Has that stopped him doing business? No. It is reported he used a mobile smuggled into his low-security prison to carry on trading.

He recently sacked his own chief executive from his prison cell and bragged: “I’ll make more money while in prison than I did out.”

That’s justice, American style. If we crash out of Europe with a no-deal Brexit we can enjoy the effects of WTO rules like this.

PATRICK EDLIN
N1

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