The reality appears to be that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are lying about the NHS.
Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assertion that the NHS is not on the table, Dispatches hears from sources with knowledge of the initial trade discussions between the two countries who question whether this is the whole story.
Reporter Antony Barnett discovers that “drug pricing” has been discussed in six initial meetings between trade officials from the two countries and learns of secret meetings between US drugs firms and British civil servants where medicine “price caps” have been talked about.
- Dispatches was also told that British trade officials have been warned that the subject is so sensitive that they must not mention “drug pricing” in emails but use the term “valuing innovation”.
US government and its powerful pharmaceutical industry want the NHS to pay more for their medicines which are much more expensive across the Atlantic. They want to remove the UK’s ability to block American drugs not deemed “value for money” and restrict our powers to allow cheaper alternatives to be prescribed to patients which save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
According to research carried out for the programme, the cost to the UK government could run into the billions, approximately £27 billion, wiping out the potential Brexit bonus for the NHS promised by Boris Johnson.
In an interview with the programme, one of Trump’s former top trade negotiators Stephen Vaughn said he doesn’t understand what Boris Johnson means when he says the “NHS is not on the table”
Asked what happens when one side in trade negotiations says the NHS is off the table, Vaughn said: “Well that that really goes to the question of what the UK government means when it says the NHS is off the table. I don’t know what they thought they meant when they said that.“
NHS bosses fear hospitals and patients will have to pay billions more for drugs as the price of Boris Johnson striking a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump.
A report by the NHS Confederation, which represents most hospital trusts in England, warns the NHS could be landed with a much larger bill for medication and denied the chance to use cheaper alternatives to expensive branded drugs.