In its search for ever-greater profits, Big Pharma is strangling healthcare,
Between 2011 and 2017, the cost of medicines for NHS England grew from £13bn to £17.4bn – a 5% rise every year. In 2020, this reached £20.9bn.
Yet the government is currently considering trade arrangements, leaked documents show, that will increase this cost even further by forcing the NHS to buy from pharmaceutical monopolies instead of buying generic medicines.
Alemtuzumab was originally developed at Cambridge University and used for the treatment of leukaemia. Scientists later found the drug was also useful in treating multiple sclerosis (MS), in lower doses. As this new use of the drug carries the potential to net higher profits, the corporate owners removed the drug from the market and re-launched it, specifically as a medicine for MS. This allowed the company to ramp up prices, so that using the drug to treat MS spiralled from £2,500 per treatment before re-issue to £56,000 after – a 22-fold increase.