Sunday, 8 November 2015

Patents Come Before Patients for Conservative Health Minister

The Off-Patent Drugs Bill, introduced to Parliament by Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds, was intended to save money for the NHS and lives along with it. The idea is to compel the Government to re-licence old drugs whose original patent has expired. Since nobody has a monopoly on them any more, they could be cheaply produced and sold to help conditions from breast cancer to multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease.

Alistair Burt

Only a few months ago the NHS announced that various cancer drugs were being withdrawn because they were too expensive...even if they were the patient's last hope of survival.

So how can Health Minister Alistair Burt justify blocking it, using the cheap trick of filibustering until all the time was gone? He repeated over and over again that there was "another pathway" - but did not say what this pathway was.

Nor can his behaviour be explained as a defence of free market principles. Quite the reverse in fact.

I suggest that everyone write to their MPs and ask for them to demand an explanation from Mr Burt of his behaviour, policies and motives. If there are drugs that the NHS could use more economically, then to refuse to licence them is utterly unreasonable behaviour - unless, of course, we adduce that there is a close personal relationship between the Conservative party, the minister himself and the pharmaceutical companies who supply vastly more expensive drugs to the NHS.

A rumour going around says that Mr Burt has a cosy relationship with a pharmaceutical company named Bell Pottinger. We have a right to know the truth.

1 comment:

  1. We maintain extremely rigorous standards of patient safety. We believe access to essential prescription drugs should be safe, convenient, and affordable for all.