Trump to push for NHS to pay more for US drugs in trade deal
US President Donald Trump is set to put the interests of American corporations first and demand that the NHS pay higher prices for American drugs as part of a trade deal with Britain.
According to Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Washington, Trump will reward his backers in pharmaceutical firms and farming communities by opening up British markets.
In an interview with the Guardian, Darroch said it’s hard to see where the UK’s gains will be found from this new free trade deal.
He said: “I know what the US will be pitching for when they negotiate a free-trade deal with us. They will pitch for massively greater access for agricultural products. People talk about chlorinated chicken – it is a lot more than that. Farmers in America vote for Trump, pretty much all of them vote for Trump [...]
“They also want us to pay the same for American pharmaceuticals as they pay in their own market. Do they want us to pay more for their pharmaceuticals? Do the pharmaceutical companies want to use this leverage? Of course they do.”
At present, the independent National Institute of Health and Care Excellence sets a price cap on drugs used in the NHS which forces US drug giants to sell their products more cheaply in the UK.
Darroch said that Trump "believes in America first", and he believes, particularly, in rewarding people who vote for him and these are American farmers and big American corporations.
The former British envoy said it was doubtful that the UK could manage simultaneous negotiations with the US and the EU and manage to get leverage in Brussels.
“But you are going to have to make a choice between whether you go for European standards and rules and all the rest of it, or whether you go in some areas with American ones [...] I can see the logic," he told The Guardian.
"But it is going to be a hell of job just in terms of sucking up resources. We have not done trade negotiations for 40 years.
"It is also going to be an electoral year in America and I don’t quite see how that is going to work."