HCL signs $500m strategic deal with MSD

IT provider HCL Technologies has signed a five-year strategic engagement with pharmaceutical company

HCL will extend its existing relationship with MSD, dating back to 2004, to become an integral business and technology services partner and provide a multitude of services including software-led IT offerings, remote infrastructure management, engineering and business and knowledge process services.

MSD will leverage HCL's near-shore delivery network in the US comprised of its operations centre in Raleigh, North Carolina and its global data centre delivery ecosystem, powered by its partner footprints across the globe.

Under the partnership, HCL will expand its US team in North Carolina, relying on local hires to staff projects, thus creating jobs for the local community. In total, HCL will deliver services out of 20 worldwide locations including USA, Poland, China and Brazil.

Shami Khorana, president of HCL Americas, said: "This is a landmark win for HCL, and we are proud that our growing leadership in pharmaceutical and healthcare, coupled with our previous delivery for MSD has positioned HCL as a strategic partner for MSD.

"We are committed to creating transformational value for MSD in this engagement and we look forward to playing a key role in the organization's growth across global markets."

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.