NHS 'ripped off' by drug companies charging £1000 for mouthwash, MP claims

NHS ripped off by drug companies charging £1000 for mouthwash, MP claims

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The National Health Service is being “ripped off” by pharmaceutical companies charging more than £1,000 for a bottle of pain-relieving mouthwash, ministers have been told.

The SNP MP Philippa Whitford urged the Government to stop the “drug racketeering”.

The SNP’s health spokeswoman said: "NHS England is being ripped off to the tune of £230 million a year as the price of some off-patent drugs and non-standard preparations or specials have been hiked up hundreds of times.

"An example is over £1,000 for a bottle of pain-relieving mouthwash.

"In Scotland, specials remain in house to keep the price down, but, a year and a half on from the Health Service Medical Supplies Act, why has the Government not used the powers to stop this drug racketeering?"


'The disastrous marketisation of NHS England'

Health Minister Stephen Barclay said the Government was committed to driving value for money from its cash injection into the health service.

He said: "It is an area we are looking at because, as we commit an extra £20 billion of funding to the NHS, our commitment is to ensure that we drive value for money from that investment and that applies to specials as well."

Dr Whitford said “the disastrous marketization of NHS England” was to blame for the inefficient use of NHS time and resources.

She said: "The healthcare market in NHS England is estimated to cost £5 billion to £10 billion a year and waste 2.5 million nursing hours a week on non-clinical paperwork.

"Does the minister not recognise this is the biggest inefficiency and will he commit to reverse the disastrous marketisation of NHS England?"

Mr Barclay replied: "(Dr Whitford) draws attention to the work I'm doing on driving improvements in productivity within the system and how we look at a whole range of efficiencies from sending texts and emails, missed appointments, use of green energy.

"There's a whole range of initiatives we can do and that is part of that agenda."