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Monday 21st May 2018

US call to open up NHS market

14th November 2006

03052006_tablets&dollars1.jpgThe government is being urged to open up the NHS to the world's main drug companies and look to the US for a new medical insurance model to pay for it.

Currently the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) reviews and recommends drugs for NHS use, but the mostly US-based pharmaceuticals industry has been lobbying for reforms.

But US deputy health secretary Alex Azar has offered to share the American experience of private insurance packages to people on Medicare - the healthcare scheme provided by the government to the poor and elderly.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, he said the UK government might be able to consider something similar, offering a basic healthcare deal and allow people to top it up through insurance for treatments and drugs the NHS can’t afford.

He warned drug rationing would stifle innovation and prevent drug companies from competing on price – something which could reduce the NHS drug bill. Offering more treatments could also help reduce hospital stays and save money.

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