NHS European Office

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the NHS: Separating myth from fact

18 / 11 / 2014

Speculation has been rife recently about the possible impact on healthcare and a range of other public policy areas of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the USA. Concern about the NHS has focused on the fear that such an agreement could open the NHS ‘market’ to American companies, leading to widespread privatisation of services and possibly damaging consequences for patient care.

Supporters of the proposed agreement focus on the benefits to UK citizens and businesses of removing unnecessary trading barriers so that the UK can more easily export our products and expertise (such as in pharmaceuticals, innovative treatments and devices) to the USA, and in return be able to access the best they have to offer. A more integrated transatlantic marketplace could foster economic growth, create jobs and stimulate fruitful collaboration in leading-edge technologies, to the benefit of patients.

The aim of this briefing is to provide a factual analysis of a highly contentious and politicised debate. We aim to separate myth from fact and – given that the agreement has not been finalised – point to areas that may pose threats or opportunities for the NHS.

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