Government must protect Pharmac as promised

John Key must tell New Zealanders that he will not bow to pressure from wealthy drug companies or their US negotiators and put Kiwi lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.


“News reports today have the drug lobbyists Medicines New Zealand openly threatening New Zealand, with Kiwis not being able to access drugs unless concessions are made on the TPP.

“Chair Heather Roy said drug companies will ‘just not bother’ to register drugs here unless the Government gave way ‘so even if people wanted them and could afford them they wouldn’t have access to them’.


“That is a threat, and it comes on the eve of a delegation from the US Trade Representatives’ Office arriving in New Zealand reportedly to talk about implementation of the TPP.


“The Government promised New Zealanders that Pharmac would be protected under the TPP and there were constant assurances that we would not pay more for medicines. There is already doubt the Government can guarantee this.


“John Key must tell us whether Pharmac is on the agenda with the US delegation and there must be complete transparency over what is being discussed.


“Kiwis are already missing out on accessing the medicines they need due to Pharmac’s underfunding. Last year Pharmac received less funding for new medicines than it asked for.


“The Government must rule out any further changes that would threaten Kiwis’ access to life-saving medicines,” Annette King says.