LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn, yesterday displayed ‘unredacted documents’ about secret US-UK government trade talks putting the NHS on the table in any future post Brexit trade negotiations.
Speaking at the press conference, he said: ‘If you watched the first TV debate between me and Boris Johnson, you’ll have seen me hold up these censored, blacked-out reports of secret US-UK talks about breaking open our NHS to US corporations and driving up the cost of medicines.
‘You’ll have seen Boris Johnson lose his cool, very angrily react, saying it was “an absolute invention” and “completely untrue”.
‘He told the country there were “no circumstances whatsoever in which his government or any Conservative government” would put the NHS on the table in any trade negotiations.
‘What I have here is something I can reveal to you: 451 pages of unredacted documents and information. All of it here.’
Corbyn continued: ‘These reports cover six rounds of talks running from July 2017 until just a few months ago. The meetings took place in both Washington DC and London …
‘We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit. A deal that will shape our country’s future …
‘So let me take you through some key points.
‘Let me begin with medicine pricing. Remember, Labour and experts said big US corporations want to force up the price our NHS pays for drugs as part of the toxic deal being negotiated with Trump.
‘The Conservatives said this was nonsense. The documents show that we were right.
‘In fact, negotiations have advanced even further than we feared they had. The US and UK have already finished initial discussion on lengthening patents for medicines.
‘Longer patents mean only one thing – more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this.
‘Many out-of-patent medicines available cheaply here are vastly more expensive under patent law in the US.
‘The drug Humira for Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis costs our NHS £1,409 a packet. In the US, the same packet costs £8,115. Get the difference – £1,409 in our NHS, £8,115 in the USA.
‘One of the reasons for US drug prices being on average 250% of those here is a patent regime rigged for the big pharmaceutical companies.’
Corbyn continued: ‘Let’s be frank, the US is not going to negotiate to sell its own medicines for less …
‘Big pharma has ripped off and imperilled the health of the American people for years. Now these secret reports show they’re looking to do the same to us – if the Conservatives are elected on December 12th.’
Corbyn concluded: ‘And these documents make clear that for the US, to quote page 41 of the third meeting report, “everything is included unless something is specifically excluded.”’
Corbyn added: ‘The US is demanding that our NHS is on the table in negotiations for a toxic deal – it’s already being talked about in secret. That could lead to runaway privatisation of our health service.’
Dave Wiltshire, the secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance commented: ‘What workers will get from Corbyn’s statement is that the only way to defend the NHS is to go forward to a “no deal” Brexit, to cut the bosses and bankers out, as soon as this general election is over.
‘A Labour victory at the polls must be followed by a general strike to force the government to leave the EU on a “no deal” basis.
‘We need a workers government that must defend the NHS by carrying out a socialist programme for the nationalisation of the banks and the basic industries, including the drug producing industries, to drive out the profiteers, and take the profit out of health care.
‘The only way forward is for the working class to force through a no-deal Brexit as part of a socialist revolution!’