The Telegraph is reporting today that a number of major drug companies face accusations of secretly colluding with pharmacists to overcharge the NHS millions of pounds.
Pharmaceutical firms appear to have rigged the market in so-called "specials" – prescription drugs that are largely not covered by national NHS price regulations.
The prices of more than 20,000 drugs could have been artificially inflated, with backhanders paid to chemists who agreed to sell them.
Representatives of some companies agreed to invoice chemists for drugs at up to double their actual cost. Chemists would then send inflated invoices to the NHS, allowing them to pocket the difference.
Tens of thousands of the "special" drugs are not on the nationally controlled NHS price list and so costs can be manipulated by drug companies. Sales representatives for drug firms were secretly recorded by the Telegraph offering to provide apparently falsified invoices allowing chemists to bill the NHS for sums far greater than they would spend. Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money are feared to have been wasted in recent years due to the practice. Whilst the media and coalition Government launched a 1984 style "two minutes hate" at clinical negligence lawyers for representing clients under no win no fee agreements, I wonder whether this issue is going to get the same traction in the press or in Parliament?
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