Menu

Login to access your account

Sun, 12 July 2020

Personalise Your Politics

Subscribe now
The House Live All
By Dods Monitoring
Coronavirus
Coronavirus
Coronavirus
By Andrew McQuillan
Coronavirus
Press releases

Government promises to protect NHS in US trade talks

Government promises to protect NHS in US trade talks
2 min read

International trade minister Greg Hands has promised to protect the NHS from US attempts to force the service to pay more for prescription drugs. 


NHS England, which already spends £16 billion per year on prescription drugs, could be forced to pay higher prices by the US government under the terms of any future trade deal. 

Speaking to The Times, Mr Hands said that the NHS would be protected in any future trade agreement with the US. 

‘I think the most important thing to understand, with all trade agreements, is that no trade agreement prevents a country from having the domestic right to regulate’ he said. 

‘We have always been clear that, in all trade agreements, the NHS will be protected.’ 

Accusing other countries of ‘freeloading’, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC that the government would force foreign health services to pay higher prices for prescription drugs. 

‘The reason why they are getting better net prices than we get is their socialised system’ he said. 

‘On the foreign side we need to, through our trade negotiations and agreements, pressure them.’

‘And so we pay less, they pay more. It shouldn’t be a one-way ratchet. We all have some skin in this game.’ 

David Henig, who worked on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as assistant director of the Department for International Trade, said that the NHS could face sustained pressure from the US pharmaceutical lobby during trade negotiations. 

‘The threat of higher drug prices is a real threat to the National Health Service is a real threat because the American pharmaceutical companies have always felt threatened by its power and influence in setting drug prices’ Mr Henig told The Times.

‘Rather than telling us blandly that the NHS is safe from trade agreements the government needs to engage with stakeholders on the detail of what should and should not be in trade agreements.’

Read the most recent article written by Alex Hacillo - Philip Hammond 'forced to abandon' private school VAT plans

Categories

Health
Partner content
NHS Parliamentary Awards

The NHS Parliamentary Awards sponsored by Fujifilm are a chance for all MPs in England to celebrate the outstanding care they and their constituents receive.

Find out more