NHS drugs bill frozen for pledge
The drug industry has agreed to a near-freeze in the £12bn bill to the NHS of branded medicines over the next five years, in exchange for a political pledge to support increased use of new treatments. The launch of a new Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) yesterday triggered grumbles from the industry over its restrictions, tempered by recognition that earlier draft proposals would have been more painful. It reflected the government’s need to control expenditure, and concerns that the price of new drugs – notably for cancer treatments – continues to rise substantially even when the benefits are often limited.
Judge orders arrest of five bankers
A Spanish judge has ordered the arrest of five senior bankers over their role in the collapse of CAM, the now-defunct regional savings bank that became an early symbol of Spain’s financial crisis. The arrest order was issued yesterday by the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s top criminal court, a court spokesman said.
Mexico to upgrade oil reforms
The Mexican government is negotiating a more ambitious energy reform than previously expected with the country’s main opposition party, opening up the prospect of market-friendly contracts that could attract billions of dollars’ worth of investment into the sector, according to two senior officials familiar with the talks.
Minister in bid to shift IT fiasco blame
Iain Duncan Smith tried to shift the blame for a £140 million waste of taxpayers’ money on to his senior civil servant by attempting to influence an MPs’ report, The Times understands. The work and pensions secretary faces criticism today in a scathing report from the Public Accounts Committee which says that the money was squandered on the Universal Credit welfare programme. Duncan Smith and members of his team are understood to have approached at least three Tory MPs on the cross-party committee to ask them to ensure that Robert Devereux, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, was singled out for censure.
The Daily Telegraph
Novartis could axe 440 jobs in UK
Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis aims to slash more than 440 jobs in Britain, blaming industry-wide difficulties. Novartis is considering closing its manufacturing site in Horsham, West Sussex, which would lead to the loss of 371 jobs, the company told AFP in an email, confirming a report by the FierceBiotech website.
Hailo boss calls for entrepreneur help
The government has “not gone anywhere near far enough” in helping entrepreneurs and start-up companies, Jay Bergman, the chief executive of Hailo has said. The US-born tech entrepreneur said the Coalition needs to extend its support schemes to really benefit start-ups.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Treasury delays borrowing cuts plan
The US treasury department yesterday said it will hold government borrowing steady amid fiscal uncertainty, a shift from the summer, when declining budget deficits allowed it to scale back. The 2013 fiscal-year budget deficit tumbled to about $680bn (£422.83bn) from more than $1 trillion each of the prior four years.
Enbridge moves with pipeline
Enbridge said yesterday it is forging ahead with efforts to build a pipeline to move oil from North Dakota to Midwestern US refineries, despite regulatory hurdles and local opposition. The pipeline company's new line would move up to 225,000 barrels of oil a day