Tag Archives: pharmaceutical

Tories gag drug companies to stop them admitting no-deal Brexit will seriously harm the UK – and their own electability

Companies must sign non-disclosure clauses “to prevent leaks that could weaken the government’s negotiating ability”.

It isn’t often that I agree with Keir Starmer these days, but he’s right on the money here:

The fact that the Tories are asking firms to sign non-disclosure agreements is tacit confirmation – not only that a no-deal Brexit is now likely, but that it will also cause an incalculable amount of harm to the UK economy.

This leads us inexorably to the other reason an NDA would be demanded; the information the Tories would provide to company representatives must be so damning that they think it will seriously harm not just the economy but their party’s electability.

The Conservatives know that they are responsible. Not only did they trigger the referendum that led to this point, they made sure no effort was made to explain what Brexit would mean in the run-up to the vote, and they have squabbled among themselves like children rather than acting in the interests of the country after it.

But they want to hide this from the general public.

So they are forcing gagging orders on anybody they think might give the game away.

With less than five months to go before we sever our ties with our greatest trading partner, the UK is on the brink of Conservative-created catastrophe.

Drug companies are being told to sign gagging clauses before discussing contingency plans for a chaotic no-deal Brexit with the government.

The Department for Health and Social Care has asked drug companies as well as bodies representing the pharmaceutical industry to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) so that officials can talk to them “in confidence” and ensure that “any requests of them are clear, appropriate and deliverable”.

Labour accused the government of silencing the health sector. After last week’s revelations about the retail magnate Sir Philip Green’s use of NDAs, Theresa May vowed to crack down on employers who are “using them unethically” and to “improve the regulation around NDAs”, although the prime minister did not condemn the use of gagging clauses altogether.

Source: Drug companies gagged over no-deal talks | News | The Times

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Tories are using the poor for medical experimentation

Seal of approval: We asked TV doctor House MD whether he foresaw any problems with the Early Access to Medicines scheme. "Nuh-uhrr," he replied.

Seal of approval: We asked TV doctor House MD whether he foresaw any problems with the Early Access to Medicines scheme. “Nuh-uhrr,” he replied.

Concern has been raised over a plan announced by Health Secretary (and misprint) Jeremy Hunt to give new medicines to people who are severely ill, years before they are licensed.

In comparison, little has been said about findings by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that people in deprived areas live shorter lives and spend more of those lives in poor health.

There is an obvious conclusion to be drawn from this:

If poorer people spend more time in ill health, then they are more likely to be given experimental drugs before those treatments are clinically proven.

In other words, the Conservative-led government is using the poor as guinea pigs for drug trials.

The BBC quoted Mr Hunt: “What patients want is sometimes to try medicines that may not be clinically proven to be effective but are clinically safe. We are streamlining the process so these medicines can be used much earlier – particularly if they have early promise – and that is something which will bring hope to a lot of patients.”

How does he know these medicines are safe? How does he know that people want them? How does he know that they’ll do what they say? He doesn’t.

This shows what he wants – to make the UK a profitable place for pharmaceutical companies by giving them a market for drugs that could be completely useless – or could have unforeseen effects.

It’s more marketisation for our once-great NHS.

Long-term readers will be aware that Mrs Mike has been receiving treatment from the NHS in England, including injections to alleviate the severe back pain from which she suffers.

I asked her if this announcement was worrying for her – as a poor person who has spent much of her life in ill-health.

“Nuh-uhrr,” she said. That seemed conclusive, so I threw her lunchtime slab of raw meat into the cage and locked the door before she could reach me.

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The end of patient confidentiality as NHS information is sold to insurers

Americanised healthcare: It is appropriate that the only appropriate image I could find features dollars instead of pounds - because it is clear that the Tory government is changing the NHS into an Americanised insurance-based service.

Americanised healthcare: It is appropriate that the only appropriate image I could find features dollars instead of pounds – because it is clear that the Tory government is changing the NHS into an Americanised insurance-based service.

Confidential information on NHS patients has been sold to insurance companies who used it in combination with information from credit rating agencies to identify customers and “refine” their premiums – increasing the costs of policies for thousands of customers, despite all the Tory-led government’s assurances to the contrary.

According to the Daily Telegraph, “a major UK insurance company… was able to obtain 13 years of hospital data – covering 47 million patients.

“As a result they recommended an increase in the costs of policies for thousands of customers last year.”

The revelation comes only days after plans to sell the confidential medical information of every NHS patient in England were put on hold amid a public outcry.

The care.data system, also called variously the General Patient Extraction Service (GPES) or the Health and Social Care Information Centre, was dreamed up as a money-spinning device by Jeremy Hunt’s Department of Health.

The aim is that, if you are an NHS patient in England, your GP will be forced to provide your confidential records, showing every medical condition you have ever had and providing intimate details of your current state of health, to a huge national database.

From there, your information may be sold on to private healthcare and pharmaceutical companies for “research”. The government has said the information would be “pseudonymised”, in an attempt to reassure you that you cannot be identified from the information to be provided to outside organisations.

Only last Friday the BBC was reporting that critics of the scheme were “scaremongering”.

The Corporation – which has failed to report the new development – quoted Tory MP George Freeman, founder of Patients4Data, which represents charities and drug companies (and not patients, apparently) as follows: “We cannot let opponents peddling scaremongering myths stop patients benefiting from this quiet revolution of modern medicine.”

And last month, NHS England categorically stated: “No data will be made available for the purposes of selling or administering any kind of insurance.”

Vox Political has made it clear from the outset that this is not true, and in fact it will be entirely possible to trace your medical information back to you. Now we have proof.

NHS England has delayed compiling the new database of English NHS patients until the autumn. You could help sink the scheme altogether, if you don’t want your government – and your NHS – to sell your information into the wrong hands. Just opt out of the data sharing scheme, using a form designed by the medConfidential website.

Make no mistake – the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats in Parliament have betrayed you.

They have already sold hospital patients’ information to insurance companies, and there can be no doubt that the intention is to do the same with GPs’ confidential records, with a consequential increase in insurance costs to people across the country.

They are turning your beloved National Health Service into an insurance-based scheme, on the same lines as the vastly more expensive American system.

They have been lying to you.

They intend to profit from selling your information – to companies that intend to profit by using it against you.

Are you going to sit there and let them?

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Will the government really penalise GPs whose patients opt out of data sharing?

n4s_nhs1

It seems the government has found a way to dissuade GPs from letting patients opt out of having their medical records sold to private firms – the threat of penalties or even an investigation into the way they run their practice.

Vox Political revealed earlier this month that the government is planning to make a profit from selling the private records of NHS patients in England to healthcare and pharmaceutical firms.

The records are said to be ‘anonymised’, but in fact anyone buying your details will be able to identify you.

The system, originally called the General Patient Extraction Service (GPES), now the Health and Social Care Information Centre, may also be described as the care.data scheme. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt wants you to think the information will be used for medical research and screening for common diseases, but in fact it could be used by private health companies as evidence of failures by the National Health Service, and could help them undercut NHS bids to continue running those services – accelerating the privatisation that nobody wanted.

Patients have the right to withhold their data, but they must specifically inform their medical practice of their wishes. This is why medConfidential created a web page containing a special opt-out form, along with a form letter in various formats, allowing patients to opt out themselves, their children and any adults for whom they are responsible.

Now GPs are living in fear of reprisals if they don’t deliver enough details to the new system.

According to GPonline.com, Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter failed to rule out penalising GP practices with a higher-than-average proportion of patients opting out of new NHS data sharing arrangements.

In a written answer to Labour MP and health select committee member Rosie Cooper, Dr Poulter also refused to say what level of patient opt-out from the scheme would trigger an investigation.

Asked whether practices would be penalised, who would investigate practices with a high opt-out rate, and at what threshold this would apply, Mr Poulter said: “NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre will work with the BMA, the RCGP, the Information Commissioner’s Office and with the Care Quality Commission to review and work with GP practices that have a high proportion of objections on a case-by-case basis.”

Ms Cooper took this as an admission that GPs were “being threatened and bullied into ensuring patients don’t choose to opt-out”.

Reacting on Twitter, NHS national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey ruled out fines for practices where large numbers of patients opt not to share data. He wrote: “Nobody is going to get fined if patients opt out.”

None of this offers a good reason for you to leave your medical records unprotected – in fact, it gives you more reasons to opt out than before, and might provide GPs with the excuse they need to retaliate.

Doctors have been pushed further and further by the Conservative-led government’s changes to the NHS. For example, they were told they would have a greater say in where the money went, as members of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), but that was not true – they don’t have the time to take part in such decisions so they have been handed over to firms that are often part of the private companies now offering services to the NHS (for a price).

Now they are being told they may face reprisals if they do not betray the principle of doctor-patient confidentiality.

But you can only push a person a certain distance before they push back.

How will NHS doctors in England respond?

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