Skip to NavigationSkip to content

Healthcare would be 'on the table' in post-Brexit trade negotiations with US, Trump's ambassador says

Published on 03/06/19 at 10:31am
Woody Johnson

The American Ambassador to the United Kingdom has said that Britain’s healthcare system would be ‘on the table’ in post-Brexit trade deal negotiations between Britain and the United States.

Speaking in an interview with Andrew Marr, Johnson & Johnson heir Woody Johnson, the US Ambassador to the UK, said the “entire economy” would be “on the table” in trade negotiations between Britain and the United States.  

After being asked whether ‘healthcare’ would be part of a future trade deal, Johnson said: “I think probably the entire economy, in a trade deal, all things that are traded would be on the table.”

When asked again to clarify whether that included ‘healthcare’, Johnson said: “I would think so.”

Johnson’s comments came as Marr raised concerns about the future of healthcare and agriculture in post-Brexit trade deal negotiations with the United States.

“There’s a great deal of fondness and enthusiasm for the NHS in this country and a lot of people are worried that a big free trade deal with America means American pharmaceutical and medical corporations getting a slice of the NHS,” Marr said.

Johnson responded in saying: “I don’t think they’d be put in any particular position regarding that. Your national healthcare service is a pride of the country. It’s a highly emotionally charged issue.”  

However when pushed on the issue, Johnson conceded that Britain's healthcare system would be a part of trade deal negotiations with the United States.

“Do you feel that healthcare has to be part of the deal?” Marr asked. “I think probably the entire economy, in a trade deal, all things that are traded would be on the table,” Johnson answered.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted in response: “My American friends, know this: The NHS is not for sale. Yes we’d love to make it cheaper to buy your life-saving pharmaceuticals - but the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade talks.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “The ambassador’s comments are terrifying, and show that a real consequence of a no deal Brexit, followed by a trade deal with Trump, will be our NHS up for sale.”

“This absolutely should not be on the table. Nigel Farage and the Tories want to rip apart our publicly funded and provided NHS. Labour will always defend it.”

Louis Goss

Mission Statement
Pharmafile.com is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs,
Site content is produced by our editorial team exclusively for Pharmafile.com and our industry newspaper Pharmafocus. Service company profiles and listings are taken from our pharmaceutical industry directory, Pharmafile, and presented in a unique Find and Compare format to ensure the most relevant matches