National Health Action Party press release 25th May 2016
The National Health Action Party issued warnings in 2013 about the potentially dangerous consequences of selling the NHS' state owned blood plasma supplier, Plasma Resources UK (PRUK) to US private equity firm Bain Capital. Now we are issuing a warning again as it has been sold on.
PRUK was specifically brought into public ownership in 1975, by Dr David Owen, because of the risks associated with contaminated blood under for-profit conditions.
Bain Capital bought an 80% share for £230 million in 2013. Now, just 3 years later, Bain has sold it to Chinese company Creat for 'a total cash consideration of £820m'. China's plasma product supply companies are highly profitable businesses as China is suffering a shortage of these products.
Creat's press release said 'Creat, a leading Chinese investment group, will invest £100 million in BPL to expand production capacity of lifesaving therapies, develop new products and access new markets. BPL’s existing management team is staying with the company, which will remain headquartered in the UK. Creat will support management’s ambition to transform BPL into a global life-sciences champion, serving more customers and patients in a greater number of markets around the world. Creat is a long-term strategic investor with a track record of growing businesses and a deep knowledge of the plasma sector.
Currently, BPL is 80% owned by Bain Capital Private Equity and 20% by the UK Department of Health. BPL’s Board of Directors is unanimously supportive of the proposed sale of the company to Creat.'
Dr Clive Peedell said " Every sale of this kind increases the dangers the public are exposed to by privatisation. Health care is very big business globally. But the NHS should not simply be a market competitor, looking for ways to maximise profit. It should be first and foremost a system which ensures that we all look after each other at our time of greatest need.
It is extremely worrying to see the NHS' blood plasma supplies being written about only in the context of accessing more markets around the world, with no mention of the NHS, only to the Department of Health being a 20% shareholder.
I am increasingly worried by George Osborne's economic strategy. His only serious policy seems to be to sell off everything the state owns as a short term fix for balancing the books, whilst the public suffers the loss of services.
The loss of blood plasma supplies will have dreadful consequences for patients, as will the potential increased risk of contamination. And I am warning that these are the real risks when lucrative global markets are the prime objective, not our own patient care in the NHS."