Society for Endocrinology - a world-leading authority on hormones

Support establishment of a national UK manufacturer of essential, off-patent medicines

09 Nov 2021

A petition has been initiated supporting the establishment of a national UK manufacturer of essential, off-patent, generic medicines within the NHS. Making these medicines at close to production cost can introduce competition to prevent the unethical practice of price gouging for essential medicines including hydrocortisone, liothyronine and insulin.

These off-patent, non-branded (generic) medicines can be made very cheaply but the NHS often has to pay very high prices for them because some companies are “price gouging”. Although the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has fined some companies, it can be several years too late and hospitals can be forced to cut other services to pay for essential drugs. Introducing competition could help reverse this, increase employment in the UK, and guarantee a secure supply of these drugs to protect patients’ health.

An Imperial College London study, led by Professor Karim Meeran, showed that drug prices can be substantially reduced if the available supply is increased. The team made hydrocortisone and asked the manufacturing company to launch it on the open market. The price rapidly fell between 2017 and 2021, before the CMA had intervened.

Read more on this study and the more recent success from introducing competition for low strength hydrocortisone at or from the CEO of AMEND at

  • At 10,000 signatures, government will respond to this petition
  • At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Sign the petition now