LEEDS, U.K. — Wal-Mart’s Asda chain here announced this week it would sell all privately prescribed cancer treatment drugs, which are funded by the patient rather than the publicly funded National Health Service, on a permanent ‘not-for-profit’ basis potentially saving thousands of pounds for sufferers.
Cancer is the UK’s second biggest killer, affecting nearly 300,000 people per year and for many the cost of treatment is well above what they can afford. Research compiled for Asda compared the price of seven of the most commonly privately prescribed cancer drugs available at main high street pharmacies in the United Kingdom where marks ups of up to 76% were uncovered.
There are significant variations in the cancer drugs which are available on the NHS within each Primary Care Trust, which is responsible for providing health services in an area.
"Saving people money so they can live better is viewed by many as just the marketing slogan of our parent company, Wal-Mart. However, when you see what we can achieve in areas like cancer and IVF treatments to reduce prices, the reality of that mission statement becomes very real and very personal,” said ASDA chief executive officer Andy Clarke in a prepared statement.
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