Labour pledges to set up state drug company and scrap prescription fees

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Labour would found state drug company

‘Nobody should be worried about being able to afford the medicines they need,’ says Jeremy Corbyn

A Labour government would establish a state-funded generic drug manufacturer to make life-saving medicines affordable to all, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.

Jeremy Corbyn then continued to explain that private drugs companies will be required to keep prices down as a condition of receiving public funding for research. A Quid Pro Quo working relationship.

A Labour government would set up a “publicly owned generic drugs manufacturer” and scrap prescription fees, the party has said.

Jeremy Corbyn has also promised that it will tackle the funding crisis for social care and introduce free personal care for the elderly.

“Healthcare is a human right,” Mr Corbyn said, ahead of a visit to a pharmacy on Wednesday.

“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 charging extortionate prices for medicines.

The use of compulsory licensing would allow the NHS to gain access to generic versions of expensive drugs soon after a Labour government came to power, but the establishment of a state-funded generic drug manufacturer would not come until the end of the party’s first five-year term in office.

The Labour Party​ bring England into line with the rest of the UK scraping prescriptions fees.

Prescriptions are already free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In England the NHS charges £9 per item, and earned just over £575m from fees in 2017/18 – which the government has said is a valuable source of income.

More than 80% of prescriptions are already issued free of charge, as those on low incomes or with some long-term conditions are not required to pay.

People on benefits including Income Support, pregnant women, children and the over-60s are among those who do not pay.

There is also a list of “medical exemptions”, including those who need to take insulin for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and people with an underactive thyroid.

But people with many other conditions – including overactive thyroid, asthma, chronic kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis – are not on the list, which was drawn up in 1968.

Pre-payment certificates for those who do not qualify for free medication cost £104 per year.

“Not only do people suffer illnesses and the effects of illnesses more than they need to but, in the long term, it costs the NHS more money because those people who don’t take their medicines present with even more serious conditions later on.”

Labour also hopes its plans would enforce greater transparency about the true cost of medicines and the size of mark-ups being demanded from the NHS.

“Under the Tories, our social care sector is in a scandalous state, with one million people not getting the care they need,” Mr Corbyn said.

“Labour will right this wrong and introduce personal care free at the point of use, extending state-funded care to hundreds of thousands more people.”

He added: “The next Labour government will make a huge step towards ensuring that our health service is truly universal by scrapping prescription charges, and taking on the big pharmaceutical companies so our healthcare system puts public health ahead of private wealth.

“Labour will make sure that when the public pay for research the public benefit, and we will create a new publicly owned generic drugs manufacturer to supply cheaper medicines to our NHS – saving money and lives.”

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