Campaigners welcome NHS England call for ‘more regulation’ of drug pricing | Global Justice Now

Diarmaid McDonald of patient campaign Just Treatment said:
“We’re currently campaigning to get Pfizer to charge a price for breast cancer drug, palbociclib, that the NHS can afford. If they don’t drop the price then the government should use its power – known as a crown use licence – to secure a fairly priced generic version. Whenever prices are unfair we should put the companies monopolies at risk not the lives of patients.”

5 Live Investigates also interviewed Professor RIchard Sullivan of King’s College London who said some drugs companies had “knowingly overpriced” their drugs. St Andrews Professor John Zajicek called one pharmaceutical company “unethical”, “greedy” and stood by a previous claim that they were “morally corrupt” (2).


1. The BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates programme is available at:

The NHS England statement to 5 Live Investigates was:
“It is essential that drugs companies price their products responsibly. The public backlash against price gouging in various countries including the United States has underlined the need for continuing vigilance on this issue. Although the responsibility for how prices are set for medicines lies with the Department for Health and in general the system delivers value for money for patients, we are concerned about pricing anomalies at a time when the NHS needs to make significant savings, which suggests further regulatory action may be needed.”

2. Professor Richard Sullivan, Professor of Cancer Policy and Global Health at King’s College London, told 5 Live Investigates:
“I don’t think there’s a single case where a cancer drug for cancer patients has been developed entirely using private money only within the private sector, it’s just never happened… Pricing is a very complex dark art because it’s essentially set based on how many returns can be generated within the patent life cycle. … We have a lot of companies which overprice their drugs for the impact that they actually deliver in terms of outcomes. … When a drug is refused by NICE, there’s only one reason which is the company has overpriced that drug and they’ve knowingly overpriced it.”

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Campaigners welcome NHS England call for ‘more regulation’ of drug pricing | Global Justice Now.