Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Simple Shopper At The Chemist

The Shopper's special pharma deal

So according to the Office for Fair Trading, the NHS is paying £500m pa too much for branded drugs. Overall, they cost us £7bn pa, with prices governed by a shadowy price fixing agreement called the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS).

We haven't yet seen the actual report, but a number of immediate points need to be made:

  • the Simple Shopper strikes again- after all that cash the DoH gave away on new pay deals, we can't really be surprised

  • so much for the claim that NHS gets us a much better deal from Big Pharma than alternative healthcare systems (as you may recall, this was one of the claims spun out of Wanless by the wee fatty)

  • producer capture- listening to the Chairman of the Commons Health Committee this morning, he seemed mainly concerned that we shouldn't "throw the baby out with the bathwater", meaning that we shouldn't screw Big Pharma too much or they might close all their operations in Britain. The argument seemed to be Big Pharma may be rapacious profiteers, but their our rapacious profiteers. It is exactly parallel to the arguments for all that money we taxpayers routinely pour down the gullet of BAe in exchange for second rate military kit

We'll read the report with interest.

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