Drug price rises are a bit­ter pill for pa­tients to swal­low

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - OPINION -

To­day’s rev­e­la­tion that NHS pa­tients in Scot­land are be­ing forced to turn to the in­ter­net to buy drugs is deeply wor­ry­ing.

It is con­cern­ing on two fronts. The first is that pa­tients leave them­selves at risk of buy­ing coun­ter­feit drugs when they go on­line.

The sec­ond is the fact they have been left in this po­si­tion in the first place by drug com­pa­nies hik­ing prices.

Those in­creases have left some health boards no longer able to of­fer types of drugs that may be a life­line to some peo­ple.

We all un­der­stand that drug com­pa­nies need to charge for their prod­ucts.

We all know that com­pa­nies need rev­enue to rein­vest in re­search to en­sure the drugs of the fu­ture are cre­ated.

How­ever, those cor­po­ra­tions rou­tinely re­port multi-bil­lion-pound prof­its each year.

Not a few hun­dred thou­sand pounds or even a few mil­lion – but multi-bil­lion pound prof­its.

The rises in prices are also not in­con­sid­er­able.

How can any­one jus­tify an in­crease in price from £14 to £619?

Once again, it is or­di­nary peo­ple who suf­fer the cost of such rises.

They can­not help hav­ing life­long con­di­tions such as epilepsy or an un­der­ac­tive thy­roid.

They don’t want to be re­liant on tak­ing tablets each and every day of their life.

But they have to. Surely, Gov­ern­ments can­not al­low them­selves, their health boards and peo­ple to be held to ran­som in such an aw­ful and un­fair way.

But un­til a res­o­lu­tion can be found it is pa­tients who will con­tinue to suf­fer, ei­ther by pay­ing for their med­i­ca­tion or by be­ing of­fered cheaper, and pos­si­bly less ef­fec­tive, drugs than they were pre­vi­ously sup­plied.

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