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The Ghost Lobby and Other Mysteries of the Modern Physic

1. To swindle other people was, after all, the honest aim of every business man.
Only the world was always so much wickeder than one thought.
There seemed to be no limit to evil.

Bertolt Brecht1.

2. As a nail sticketh between the joinings of the stones, so doth sin stick close to buying and selling

3. New labour had opened up secret routes of special access to allow select corporate chiefs to
bargain, alter or veto the government’s key decisions.

Greg Palast2

     Since coming to power in 1997, New Labour has been ‘modernizing’ the National Health Service (NHS). Essentially this modernization process has entailed placing the management of health care delivery, in its many different forms, in the hands of free standing agencies; private companies, trusts, foundations, consultancies and even pharmacists3.

     The changes introduced by this decentralization have broken the mould of a system of socialized medicine, inaugurated by the first Labour Government over half a century ago, when it acted on the Beveridge report and nationalized the health service. Modernization has also reversed an ideological direction and basic tenet of socialist and social democratic political parties, that the organization of health

1 Threepenny Novel. Penguin Books. Harmondsworth, England. 1973.
2 Lobbygate, Chapter 7, in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Greg Palast, Robinson, London2003
3 In May 2004, the New Labour government became the first European government to move statins (cholesterol lowering drugs), from the prescription list to over the counter sales, also allowing competitive advertising within the pharmacists. This move will wipe millions off the prescription drugs bill, forcing patients to pay from their own pockets for treatment. At the same time, it is a gift to the pharmaceutical industry, which is straining at the leash to by pass doctors and all kinds of patient– protecting legislation and sell drugs directly to the general population. Who will the
consumer sue when they suffer serious adverse reactions, the chemist? To whom does the patient report adverse reactions. Planning to bring pharmacists more deeply into the NHS and make them, as it were, auxillary doctors, began four years ago. Interestingly enough, the first pilot scheme decided on in 2000, chose heart disease patients for their trials involving pharmacists in healthcare. See Report of the All Parliamentary Pharmacy Group; Medicines Management in Community Pharmacies, A Report to Health Ministers.

The Ghost Lobby and Other Mysteries of the Modern Physic            

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