JEREMY CORBYN has accused the Conservatives of negotiating a secret trade deal with the US to open up the NHS to American pharmaceutical companies.
The Labour leader said his party has obtained uncensored government documents showing talks were at a ‘very advanced stage’.
He said the 451 pages covered six rounds of negotiations, in both Washington and London, from July 2017 to ‘just a few months ago’.
Speaking at a news conference, Mr Corbyn said the papers refute Tory claims that the NHS would not be part of any trade talks.
‘The uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson’s denials in absolute tatters,’ he said. ‘We have now got evidence that the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.’
On medicine pricing, he said the documents showed discussions had already been concluded between the two sides on lengthening patents.
‘Longer patents can only mean one thing — more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this,’ he said. He said Humira, which is used to treat Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, costs the NHS £1,409 per packet while in the US the price is £8,115.
Mr Corbyn said that according to the readout of the second meeting, UK officials noted the ‘patent issues’ around ‘NHS access to generic drugs will be a key consideration’ in talks.
But the Tories accused him of ‘out-and-out lying’ by taking passages out of context from documents publicly available online for weeks.
Boris Johnson, campaigning in Cornwall, described Labour’s claims as ‘total nonsense’, insisting: ‘The NHS is not on the table in any way.’
Meanwhile, Labour is pledging to plant 2billion trees by 2040 and create ten new national parks to help tackle the climate crisis.