H319 The Green Party recognises the huge profits made by the drug companies out of the NHS. This is often through a form of cartel pricing, and we do not believe it is right that the National Health Service as a public health service should have to pay unfair prices. Therefore we will set up an independent NHS Pharmaceutical Body with power to set the price of drugs provided to the NHS. The Body will be composed of doctors, healthcare professionals, economists, and a legally trained chairperson, which will look at the cost of research and development in drugs and their manufacture, and receive evidence from chemists, the pharmaceutical companies, and other countries' health services. The Body will then decide what is a fair price for a drug which is to be provided to the NHS by the manufacturer, and that will be the price which the NHS will pay for the drug.
Herceptin is one example but there are many others, cancer drugs that NICE the government body over seeing NHS drugs buying, has rejected at one time or another as too expensive.
Cancer United, a pressure group, lobbying for better access to cancer treatment, launched yesterday with celebs including the ex-Blair spin doctor Alistair Campbell. The Guardian has revealed that CU is financed by the big pharm company ROCHE, read more here.
Roche produce herceptin.
My fear is that pharmaceutical companies through patents on 'life saving' drugs, can push prices up to the sky and make huge profits. With their profits they can shape the kind of health care we have access to. Health for profit, is simply a very expensive form of illness.
The WTO has been working hard to make cancer drugs more expensive and to help big pharm.
A green approach to health based on prevention is vital....at the margins but across the spectrum the threat of big pharm is being recognised, see for example IstanbulTory on the links between Blair and the drugs barons.
Also a good article in here on how Novartis are trying to patent an anti-cancer drug in India, this will remove affordable cancer treatment from 1,000s of poor cancer suffers.
Ivan Illich we will honour your memory!
Herceptin, the Guardian notes
CancerBacup has led the charge against "postcode prescribing" - where some health trusts will pay but others won't - for a number of drugs. "Even though Herceptin doesn't yet have a licence for early breast cancer, all good private medical insurers are already funding this treatment because of the strength of the clinical trial data. The time to act is now," Rule said last October.
CancerBacup's latest financial statement showed that it received 31% of its income from companies and charitable trusts. They include Roche and around 14 other major drug companies. That doesn't matter, says the charity, because it has guidelines on relations with the industry.