Today, in his address to the U.K. Labour party conference, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn made the following statement on drug patents and prices.
Yesterday I met Luis Walker, a wonderful nine-year-old boy. Luis is living with cystic fibrosis. Every day he needs at least four hours of treatment and is often in hospital keeping him from school and his friends. Luis’ life could be very different with the aid of a medicine called Orkambi. But Luis is denied the medicine he needs because its manufacturer refuses to sell the drug to the NHS for an affordable price.
Luis, and tens of thousands of others suffering from illnesses such as cystic fibrosis hepatitis C and breast cancer are being denied life-saving medicines by a system that puts profits for shareholders before people’s lives.
Labour will tackle this. We will redesign the system to serve public health – not private wealth – using compulsory licensing to secure generic versions of patented medicines. We’ll tell the drugs companies that if they want public research funding then they’ll have to make their drugs affordable for all. And we will create a new publicly owned generic drugs manufacturer to supply cheaper medicines to our NHS saving our health service money and saving lives. We are the party that created the NHS. Only Labour can be trusted with its future.
His full remarks are available here.
Just Treatment, a U.K. based patient group, has pushed for the government to use its power under the Crown Use license provisions of the Patent Act, to allow the National Health Service (NHS) to buy generic or biosimilar versions of several drugs.
Their most recent campaign involves the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi.