With sufficient notice some simple drugs could be made by the nation, and there are Indian generic pharmaceutical manufacturers who would want to bid – but only if told with sufficient notice. And did we know it was happening – yes we were warned by the same Billy Kember: Alert on drug prices came two years ago. Drug Procurement, along with the rest, is scandalously profligate and inadequate…
NHS officials waved through medicine price rises of up to 600 per cent with no questions asked, according to a cache of emails seen by The Times.
Health staff queried the “large difference” in prices set by the British company AMCo — which has an effective monopoly over the supply of certain drugs — but merely asked for confirmation that the changes were correct. The new prices for 54 medicines alone cost the NHS an extra £125 million last year.
They included eye drops, which were raised by 243 per cent from £2.35 to £8.05, and an anticoagulant called phenindione, which rose by almost 200 per cent from £99.89 to £291.09 in May last year. Four months later the price of phenindione was put up again to £519.98 for a packet of 25mg tablets.
An investigation by The Times in June showed that entrepreneurs were buying the rights to old drugs and implementing price rises of up to 12,500 per cent, costing the NHS an extra £262 million a year. The Department of Health warned that “no pharma- ceutical company should be exploiting the NHS” and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, promised to act.
Hundreds of pages of emails released under freedom of information laws now reveal the extent of government complicity in the price-raising, while Mr Hunt has failed to stop the tactics.