One Of The World's Finest

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage feels that:

Far from having a second rate NHS as UKIP's leader claimed, we still have one of the finest in the world.

Soon after it became common knowledge that Ukip's Paul Nuttall welcomed the privatisation of the NHS, claiming it's "a monolithic hangover from days gone by," his minions in the party justified this by saying he wanted to privatise it as it would make it more efficient and medications cheaper.

When anyone who knows anything about the NHS understands the last thing it needs is more pharmaceutical multinationals like Pfizer getting their greedy snouts into the NHS, as they have a dreadful reputation for overcharging the health service for their products and services.

Indeed in a post on his website, that's now been deleted but was available in 2014, Nuttall made clear he supported the Tory led coalition on NHS privatisation when he wrote:

I would like to congratulate the coalition government for bringing a whiff of privatisation into the beleaguered National Health Service.

He added:

I would argue that the very existence of the NHS stifles competition, and as competition drives quality and choice, innovation and improvements are restricted. Therefore, I believe, as long as the NHS is the sacred cow of British politics, the longer the British people will suffer with a second rate health service.

UK NHS one of the finest in the world

Of course far from being a second rate health care system, we still have one of the finest in the world, despite the Tories attempt to drive standards down by introducing legislation which interrupts our medics from doing what they do best, looking after their patients. Around the same time as Nuttal was running the NHS down, Britain’s health-care system was being lauded as the best out of 11 of the world’s wealthiest countries, following a far-reaching study by a US-based foundation.

In a report entitled Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, the quality, efficiency, cost, and performance of the US health system was compared to Canada and nine other countries in Europe and Australasia.

Conducted by The Commonwealth Fund, the report ranks the UK first overall, scoring it highly for its quality of care, efficiency and low cost at the point of service, with Switzerland coming an overall second. The US private healthcare system which Mr Nuttall believes is the best option available came in last.

Rather than benefiting the NHS there is little doubt at times the pharmaceutical conglomerates have posed a massive problem for it due to the exploitative pricing of some of their drugs.

Not before time the Competition and Markets Authority have now stepped in and issued its biggest fine ever after the Drugs giant Pfizer inflicted extraordinary price rises for their products which have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds.”

Angela Monaghan writing in the Guardian reported:
Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m by the UK’s competition regulator after the price charged to the NHS for an anti-epilepsy drug was increased by up to 2,600%. The CMA also fined the drugs distributor Flynn Pharma £5.2m for charging excessive and unfair prices in the UK for phenytoin sodium capsules, which are used by an estimated 48,000 epilepsy patients in the UK to prevent and control seizures. The fines follow an overnight price increase for the drug of up to 2,600%, after it was deliberately debranded, the CMA said. Pfizer makes the drug and sells it to Flynn, which in turn sells it to the NHS. The CMA said that by debranding the drug and making it generic, Pfizer was was free to sharply increase the price it charged Flynn, which in turn further raised the price it charged the NHS. Generic drugs are generally available to customers at cheaper prices than branded products because they can be manufactured by any company, not just the developer of the original drug.
Just how shocking and exploitative these price rises were are highlighted by Angela:

The amount the NHS was charged for 100mg packs of the drug was increased from £2.83 to £67.50 before being reduced to £54 from May 2014. As a result, the amount the NHS spent on phenytoin sodium capsules rocketed from about £2m a year in 2012 to £50m in 2013. The CMA also found that Pfizer, best known for its mass-market drugs such as Viagra, was charging a far higher price for the anti-epilepsy drug in the UK than in any other European country. The watchdog has ordered both companies to drop their prices. The CMA has four other ongoing investigations into the pharmaceutical industry, with at least one of those focused on excessive pricing.

The watchdog said the fine on Pfizer is the highest imposed in UK competition law, reflecting the seriousness of the case. The previous record was a £58.5m fine handed to British Airways in 2012 for colluding with Virgin Atlantic on fuel surcharges.

Philip Marsden, who led the investigation for the CMA, accused the firms of exploitation and said there was no justification for such price rises. Phenytoin sodium capsules are an old drug and there had been no recent innovation or significant investment, he said. 

Marsden added:

The companies deliberately exploited the opportunity offered by debranding to hike up the price for a drug which is relied upon by many thousands of patients. These extraordinary price rises have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds. This is the highest fine the CMA has imposed and it sends out a clear message to the sector that we are determined to crack down on such behaviour and to protect customers.
Rather than regulating them and stopping these private corporations from looting the NHS, and the British taxpayer, Ukip sides with the multinationals against the common man. Unlike Nuttall, I cannot think of anything more despicable than making a profit from the sick and disabled.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

1 comment to ''One Of The World's Finest"

  1. I find it incredible that those who beat the Little Englander 'patriotic' drum the loudest are determined to be rid of whatever family silver Thatcher and her little gang of evil managed to somehow miss during their 'Great British sell-off'. When I hear the term the 'best of British I think of working rights gained during the industrial revolution by enslaved and worked into the ground peasantry moving into cities like Manchester, (cottonopolis). A population forced off the land into urban centres and factories and slum dwellings. Kiddies working 14 hours a day in factories if they weren't 'lucky' enough to be shoved up chimneys for a living. The likes of the NHS coming after WW2 when Labour won a landslide was also a defining moment in global history. Much more laudable than the war itself or Empire in my humble opinion. I had assumed UKIP were working class English nationalists. Not sure how I came to that position considering Ferage worked in the City. Just proves what they say about assumption being the mother of all f%@k ups. The working class of England have done so much for the planet out of desperate circumstances. It is their kids too who go off to fight in the endless unnecessary wars too.

    Pray to every God known to man throughout history and none that Corbyn gets elected.


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