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.