GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Sir Andrew Witty warned that ministers were making false economies as they tried to grapple with the deficit in the public finances.

In an interview with the BBC, he said that governments across Europe had already cut drug prices by 5 per cent a year – costing GSK around £300 million per annum.

However, he said governments were now seeking to go further in an effort to achieve even bigger savings – and he highlighted Britain’s decision to delay new cancer treatments.

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