Give Epilepsy services the £89.4m from drug company fines
On 7 December the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fined pharmaceutical company Pfizer and drug distributor Flynn Pharma a record £84.2m and £5.2m respectively after they increased the price of lifesaving anti-epilepsy drugs by up to 2,600%. (Guardian)
While this is a fantastic achievement we now need to convince the government to invest this £89.4m back into epilepsy care.
The NHS were forced to continue to use this medication despite the inflated prices, because when a specific medication is prescribed, any changes could decrease the quality of life for those suffering with epilepsy causing seizures and other life threatening effects. The money should be made available to the NHS to improve community epilepsy services.
Phenytoin sodium - an anti-epilepsy drug used by an estimated 48,000 people across the UK - had been increased from £2.83 to £67.50 for a 100mg pack, meaning the NHS was having to spend around £50m a year (for 4 years!!) on this medication. This was reduced to £54 a pack, but is still far more expensive than anywhere else in Europe. (Telegraph)
Dr Martin Brunet, the GP who flagged this issue back in 2012 before it was taken up by the CMA, went on Radio 4's PM show to discuss this issue. (Radio 4 PM) He feels this funding should be used to fund epilepsy nurses across the UK. I think this is a fantastic idea! As an epilepsy sufferer, nurses who specialise in this field provide brilliant care and advice to those who need support.
In 2010 Epilepsy Action research determined that "at least 60 per cent of people with epilepsy (nearly 280,000 people in the UK) will require ongoing access to an adult, paediatric or learning disability epilepsy specialist nurse (ESN)." (Epilepsy Action) They have been underfunded for many years, but this fine provides a unique opportunity to have epilepsy nurses in communities across the UK.
So let's turn this tale of corporate greed into a good news story and convince the UK Government to use this money fund a new generation of epilepsy nurses!
So please sign the petition, share with your friends and network, and most critically at this stage: write to your MP! Let's work together to make a real difference to people's lives.
Thank you, Andy
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