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British pharmaceutical industry is threatened by Labour, says former Party health minister

Published on 02/12/19 at 10:49am

A former Labour Party health minister has said that the British pharmaceutical industry is “under threat” from a Jeremy Corbyn government.                                        

Baron Ara Darzi, who served under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has criticised Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his plan to set up a state owned pharmaceutical company. Corbyn has outlined that it is to prevent drug price hikes and to allow this government body to reproduce patented pharmaceuticals if they became too expensive.            

Darzi said this policy was a “blunderbuss remedy” and “reckless”. Writing in The Sunday Times, he said: “Such a move would threaten the entire pharmaceutical industry and Britain’s world-leading role in innovation. Forcing pharmaceutical companies to surrender their intellectual property, so that their products could be copied, would discourage companies from launching new medicines and slow the research pipeline, curbing the flow of innovative drugs becoming available.”

Darzi also said the policy could lead to drug firms hiking up prices, for fear of the government eventually taking the patent off them.

Labour launched the idea of a state drug company back in September, and in an October speech Corbyn said: “Nobody should be worried about being able to afford the medicines they need, and our NHS should not be priced out of providing the drugs people need because of pharmaceutical companies.”

It is unlikely Darzi’s comment will sway the Corbyn campaign, which has generally been at odds with the remnants of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s ‘New Labour’ faction of the Party.

Conor Kavanagh

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