£1,500 for a £2 pot of moisturiser! NHS being massively overcharged by suppliers, investigation reveals

NHS being massively overcharged by suppliers, a newspaper investigation reveals

NHS suppliers can set their own prices for 'special' products, it has been revealed

Friday, February 2, 2018

The NHS is paying suppliers exorbitant amounts for products thanks to lack of regulation, an investigation by The Times newspaper has revealed.

An investigation by journalists Paul Morgan-Bentley and Billy Kenber has revealed the NHS was charged more than £1,500 for a single pot of moisturiser in 2016 which has been sold in other locations for less than £2.

The cream is what's known as a "special" as it is tailor-made for patients with a certain condition. No regulation means suppliers can set their own prices for "specials".

Morgan-Bentley told Mike Graham and Katie Perrior: "People talk about the NHS in billions of pounds, but actually it’s only when you start counting the millions that you can start making savings."

He explained: "It’s up to the manufacturers to say how much it costs and the NHS is just signing off these payments."

But he thinks the NHS should keep track of what items usually cost and contact "the pharmacist, saying you need to speak to your manufacturer and see why they’re charging so much."

Morgan-Bentley believes the NHS should conclude, "if they can’t give you a good enough reason, you need to start going elsewhere​."

However he admitted, "the pharmacists don’t have massive incentive to crackdown on this because the NHS just pays," and the profits go to the manufacturer.

Listen to the full interview above