The independent London newspaper

Wait and see on drugs deals with the US

15 May, 2020

• THE so-called doctors and professors need to consider some facts, (Keep the NHS public and out of American hands, Letters, May 1).

US companies have the right to bid for contracts in the NHS. Depending on the type of deal the NHS could change the types of drugs it uses, or change how the Department of Health and Social Care can bargain on prices.

If you look at other countries that have conducted a trade deal with the US containing provisions on medicine, they have not experienced increases in pharmaceutical spending to the same level per person.

Even if the drug prices did increase by the amount suggested by the Labour Party, this doesn’t mean all the money would suddenly be paid to US drugs companies.

There are a number of UK-based pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca which already work with the NHS and would presumably still compete in the market.

A deal has been struck with five manufacturers to save £300million with low-cost versions of the health service’s most expensive drugs.

No deal with the US has taken place.The first round of talks have only just started.

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