The NHS cannot survive if the price of medicines keep going up and up. Patients in the UK should not be denied medicines that could save or extend their life. Here's what we think has to change.
break the monopoly on unfairly priced medicines
If a company refuses to charge a fair price that the NHS can afford, the government should issue a crown use or compulsory licence for the medicine. This is a legal tool used to suspend a patent, allowing another company to make the medicine for a much lower price. Other countries use these to protect their people’s health, and the UK has used them in the past. We need to do it again.
let in the light
We also want to have full transparency of the drug industry - it is too important to be shrouded in secrecy. We want transparency that would reveal how much public and private investment was made in the development of a medicine, how much drug companies spend on marketing and sales, full disclosure of all trial evidence, and full openness on the prices we are being charged.
a whole new plan to encourage medical innovation
Finally, we want the government to end patents on medicines. They are global public goods. We should invest up front in the medical research we need - rewarding innovators with grants and prizes. But we should own the product of the innovation we’ve paid for. That way we can allow multiple manufacturers to produce each medicine. They will compete to bring the price down and the money we spent up front on research will be saved by a much lower drugs bill.
These are big changes and the people who make big profits in the pharmaceutical industry will fight tooth and nail to stop them happening. But with power of patients uniting to demand them from our political leaders we believe we can win these changes. For the good of our health, for the good of the NHS we have to.