Tuesday, 6 November 2012

When procurement strategy meets drugs war

I've discussed suppliers holding buyers to ransom as a result of the financial crisis (for example Comet and Lotus) but I never thought I would discuss pharmaceutical suppliers holding cancer victims within a country to ransom. Yet that is exactly what is happening as state run hospitals in Greece are deprived of bowel cancer drugs by German pharmaceutical company, Merck.  Of course Merck have a justification in that the pharmaceutical industry are owed £1.4bn by Greece and there is an hint of corruption about how the Greeks have resold previously supplied drugs.

On the other hand we also know that the pharmaceutical companies have a history of harvesting excessive profits and are not without questionable morals.

But will this lead to an increase in health tourism and Greek patients travelling to other EU countries for treatment?  Will that merely displace costs from one country to another and have a detrimental impact on the health delivery in those countries?  Equally, will the EU have to pick up additional costs as patients who may otherwise have been treated have require more expensive support?

The personal price to patients and families just couldn't be calculated and whole life costs take on a much more literal meaning.

This is really high-level European Procurement Strategy and a much more worthy topic of debate than whether or not Channel #5 is dangerous.  An innovative response is required and the leverage of all European country health budgets brought to bear before lives are lost unnecessarily.

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