Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been fined £84.2 million after the Competition and Markets Authority declared that the price-hike of an anti-epilepsy drug in 2012 was “excessive and unfair”. When the drug lost its patent protection, Pfizer sold the drug to Flynn Pharma, who were fined £5.2 million, where it was debranded so it was no longer subject to price regulation. The CMA accused both companies of costing the NHS and therefore the taxpayer millions of pounds. The public will be glad to see this headline but it raises the question: What is fair when it comes to economic transactions?
Here we go again. As August tipped into September, the British Medical Association announced the seventh walkout by junior doctors this year over new contracts. Taking place from the 12th to the 16th of this month, all departments will be closed from 08:00 to 17:00, including Accident and Emergency. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has already warned that up to 100,000 operations and 1 million appointments would be cancelled. It can also get a lot worse as the BMA has planned monthly week-long walkouts until the end of the year if no agreement is reached. With no end in sight, is there at least a way of making the process as painless as possible for patients?
Tax will always be a touchy subject for all politicians; it eventually comes down to trying to annoy the least amount of people when trying to fiddle with rates or tax credits. So it would surely come as a relief to have some economic theory backing you up when facing the pitchforks? Wouldn’t it?