- Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party made the documents public Wednesday.
- The documents reveal the Conservative party has been in talks with the US regarding methods to raise prices paid by the National Health Service to US firms.
The UK government has engaged in secret talks with the US regarding the future of the National Health Service as part of a post-Brexit trade deal, according to a 451 pages of documents released by Labour Party candidate Jeremy Corbyn.
Claiming the NHS is “up for sale” under a Conservative administration, Corbyn disclosed the unredacted material in a press conference today. “We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed,” the Labour leader said referring to the Prime Minister.
In preparation for leaving the European Union, new trade agreements are of critical importance for the UK government with a comprehensive free trade deal with the US as a top priority.
Corbyn claims that senior trade officials from the two sides discussed the NHS, medicine patents, the pharmaceutical industry, health insurance and medical devices as part of a post-brexit free-trade agreement.
The documents reveal intense interest by US negotiators on altering the manner in which the British government sets drug prices, potentially leading to billions of pounds a year in added costs.
Corbyn claimed in an interview with BBC’s Andrew Neil that discussions had already been completed on lengthening patents. “Longer patents can only mean one thing: more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this,” said Corbyn. As an example Corbyn cited Humira, a brand name for the drug adalimumab, used to treat Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, which he said costs the NHS £1,409 a packet, compared with £8,115 in the US.
Boris Johnson denied the allegations stating “The NHS is not on the table in any way.”