- Limited NHS finances may threaten all of the UK’s £30 billion life sciences sector
- Firms may reconsider working in the Britain if their drugs face market rejection
- Some have accused the firms of bluffing, arguing taxes are set at their maximum
- An extra £20 billion will align the UK with the healthcare budgets of G7 members
- Each of the 140,000 medical research worker adds £104,000 to the economy
The world’s largest drug companies have threatened to abandon Britain unless the NHS gets an additional £20 billion a year.
Financial limitiations imposed on the NHS may threaten all of Britain’s £30 billion life sciences sector as drug firms may reconsider working in the UK.
Lisa Anson, president, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said that the election is coming at a critical time and if politicians fail to prioritise health expenditure, Britain risks becoming ‘a desert for healthcare innovation’.
Medical research is a prime driver of economic growth, with each of the approximate 140,000 workers adding around £104,000 to Britain’s economy – twice the UK average, ministers said.
Patients and companies are suffering as treatment rationing means the NHS is no longer one of the top global healthcare systems, warns the ABPI.
Drug firms threaten to abandon the UK unless an extra £20 billion a year is given to the NHS
Is the NHS one step closer to privatisation?
The NHS may borrow up to £10 billion from hedge funds to finance hospital repairs and increased GP care.
If approved, the move will edge the health service one step closer to becoming private, experts claim.
Its budget currently stands at around £120 million a year – with the additional funds giving it a boost of approximately eight per cent.
Although this is not the first time the NHS has sought private investment, it appears to be the biggest sum ever requested.
According to health chiefs, low interest rates give the NHS a ‘golden opportunity’ to raise money without relying on the minimal government funding.
Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, has said billions of pounds are needed to help fund his vision of offering specialist tests and care at GP clinics.
Pharmaceutical companies will likely postpone launching their therapies in Britain as low spending means they may not be approved, said Ms Anson, The Times reported.
Firms will also unlikely conduct clinical trials in the UK as new treatments are tested against the best existing therapies, which may not be available over here.
Yet, certain Tory MPs have dismissed such claims as bluffing.
The ABPI, which represents pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer and Novartis in the UK, says British health spending should match the G7 average of 11.3 per cent of its GDP, rather than its current 9.9 per cent.
This additional 1.4 per cent equates to an increase of £20.8 million, on top of the current £120 billion annual NHS budget.
Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, suggested last month that the development of new treatments will come second to investing in GPs and mental health services.
Mr Stevens argued the NHS cannot afford to bankroll everything patients want. Limitations have also been enforced on treatments costing more than £20 million a year, even if they are believed to be good value.