Local MEP Jonathan Arnott is urging the government to divert the £89.4 million fines levied for drug overcharging from the Treasury to the health service.
“Considering the financial constraints facing the NHS in in the North East, as well as the rest of the country, I think it would be an appropriate use of the fines to provide more doctors and nurses, extra training places or keep under-threat units open,” he said.
His comments come in the wake of the Competition and Markets Authority fining drug giant Pfizer £84.2 million for over-charging the NHS for an epilepsy drug and fining drug distributor Flyn Pharma £5.2 million for the 2,600% overnight price increase for the drug in 2012.
“I appreciate that the companies intend to appeal the CMA’s decision but if it is upheld or even if smaller fines imposed I think the money should go to the NHS,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.
“If this money goes, as planned to the Treasury, I fear it will just disappear and the public will not feel any tangible benefit from what it is really an unexpected windfall.
“Every day we read more horror stories about patients, including particularly vulnerable pensioners, lying on trollies in hospital corridors or ambulances lining up outside with no available beds for those they have brought for urgent treatment so also wasting paramedic resources.
“Given the overall picture of lack of funds in the NHS these fines are really a drop in the ocean but they would help and I have no doubt at all that my North East constituents would far rather it went there than anywhere else,” he added.