Skip to main content
Democratic public ownership in the UK pharmaceutical sector

Democratic public ownership in the UK pharmaceutical sector

Dana Brown

Dana Brown

Director of the Next System Project more

Heidi Chow

Heidi Chow

Senior campaigns manager, Global Justice Now more

Thomas Hanna

Thomas Hanna

Director of Research at The Democracy Collaborative more

Diarmaid McDonald

Diarmaid McDonald

Lead organizer, Just Treatment more

The products of the United Kingdom’s health innovation model are essential to achieving the right to health. But the industry has demonstrated major failings that include lack of patient access to new advanced drugs, extortionate pricing that is unsustainable for the National Health Service (NHS), and a lack of innovative medicines that address key public health priorities.

Greater democratic, public control over the research, development, production, and sale of medicines would help the government fulfill its obligations to ensure the right to health for all. It would also be consistent with, and reinforce, the principles of the NHS. Delivering universality and equity in accessing medicines is crucial to ensuring that the UK’s public healthcare system is accessible for all. And it could increase the number of secure, high-quality jobs in the economy.

This working paper identifies how the key principles of public ownership can apply in the pharmaceutical sector. It then provides more details that show the need for public ownership in two aspects of the drug development continuum: research and development, and drug production. Finally, it sets out a vision of what democratic participation, engagement, and transparency would look like as well as the implications for governance and operations.

Dana Brown

Dana Brown

Director of the Next System Project more

Heidi Chow

Heidi Chow

Senior campaigns manager, Global Justice Now more

Thomas Hanna

Thomas Hanna

Director of Research at The Democracy Collaborative more

Diarmaid McDonald

Diarmaid McDonald

Lead organizer, Just Treatment more

More related work

Health innovation policy for the people

Health innovation policy for the people

Healthcare innovation policy in the United States has yielded some benefits but has also done harm, specifically when it comes o health equity. This paper identifies four such harms and offers recommendations that address the needs of marginalized communities and produces for all of us the innovations we really need. read more
Regeneration not gentrification

A “new direction”: Rediscovering community wealth building in an age of gentrification

To preserve communities in the throes of displacement, cooperative movements and new economy advocates must pivot in a new direction that blends place and the democratic economy. This “new direction” actually borrows from an idea nearly 50 years old. read more
Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr

Gar Alperovitz on how change happens over “pizza and some beer”

Gar Alperovitz talks about how the democratic economy can come into being much as movements did in the 1960s: “Six friends get together and get some pizza and some beer.” read more