Trade Deal (Drug Prices)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Emma Harper Emma Harper Scottish National Party

The First Minister will be aware of reports by Channel 4’s “Dispatches” that the United Kingdom Government has had a series of meetings with US pharmaceutical firms to discuss raising drug prices as part of a post-Brexit trade deal. Donald Trump famously said that the NHS would be “on the table” in trade deal discussions. Will the First Minister do everything in her power to protect our national health service from a Tory sell-out?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Emma Harper is right to raise that issue

—[Interruption.]

I know that the Tories are not particularly bothered about the real and present threat to our national health service, but there is one. I do not think that there is any doubt that, if they are left to their own devices and if they get their way, a Boris Johnson-led Government would open up our national health service to Donald Trump in the interests of trade deals. Yesterday we even heard Boris Johnson, in the House of Commons, almost threatening to take control of the NHS away from this Parliament and this Government, which should alarm people across Scotland.

The way to ensure that we protect our health service—not to magic away all its problems and challenges, because health services everywhere have challenges—and invest in it, keep it in public hands and ensure that it remains the best-performing NHS anywhere in the UK, is to continue with the investment and reform that this Government is taking forward.