Sick trade in NHS medicines: Profiteering chemists cash in by selling life-saving drugs to European clinics

Jenny Hope and Pat Hagan
Daily Mail [UK]
19 February 2010

NHS patients are being put at risk because profiteering pharmacists are selling prescription drugs to Europe.

Unscrupulous speculators cashing in on the weak pound have created a shortage of at least 40 drugs, a Daily Mail investigation has found.
They include treatments for cancer, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s and high cholesterol…

…As many as one in ten pharmacists, as well as wholesalers, dispensing doctors and even NHS hospitals are making money in an export trade worth an estimated £360 [$557] million a year.

Government guidance condemns it as unethical, but there is nothing ministers can do as it is entirely legal for drugs to be traded in this way within the EU.

The problem became critical after the pound collapsed against the euro – making it worth selling high-value drugs abroad because the price here was relatively low.

With desperate patients worried about getting their medicines, many pharmacists are spending hours on the phone trying to track down scarce supplies…

The entire article is at the Daily Mail.

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