As reported on the Guardian website, Roche and Novartis have threatened to pull out of the UK and relocate thousands of pharmaceutical jobs abroad. The announcement comes as a result of an ongoing disagreement over pricing for NHS drugs. Up to 5,000 pharmaceutical jobs will be at risk if the pharma companies abandon ship.
Head of Roche UK, John Melville, has said that the price cuts on drugs supplied to the NHS has had a significant impact on the erosion of the pharmaceutical companies profit margin. Melville’s worries are well justified as UK drug prices often act as a reference prices for many developed countries, including the majority of the EU. Melville has even said that it could make sense for the pharma company to pull out of the UK, losing 3% of business in order to safeguard pricing levels at the remaining 97% of sales sources.
Novartis have echoed this by stating that they are considering moving some of their drug safety trials out of the Britain “because the slowness of the NHS system is making them uncompetitive”. However, A Roche spokesman said: “We have no plans to quit the UK although we need to work with the UK government to address the uptake of medicines in the UK, many of which are routinely available in other European countries.”
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