Saturday, 21 May 2016

InFacts: US-EU trade deal isn’t threat to NHS

InFacts: US-EU trade deal isn’t threat to NHS

by Jack Schickler

"One major worry is that the deal might mean NHS services have to open up to private competition. American companies, according to this line of thought, might take us to court under the arbitration mechanism TTIP sets up, and in effect force privatisation. Others fret that TTIP might lead to a change in NHS drug pricing policy – since US pharmaceutical companies often argue that the NHS sets prices too low.

These fears are overstated. Ensuring competition in public procurement does not mean putting public services in jeopardy. The EU has tough rules in this area but, after 40 years of UK membership of the bloc, the NHS sails on.

TTIP negotiators have been clear that the pact would not prevent governments from providing health services. In a joint statement, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and US Trade Representative Mike Froman said “no EU or US trade agreement requires governments to privatise any service” – nor prevents them renationalising those already privatised."

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