The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark.
"Labour knows that Pharmac is a world-beating scheme. It cannot continue to punch above its weight with its hands tied behind its back.
"Adequate funding for Pharmac is well overdue. Today's announcement is the start of catch up for its neglect.
"Labour welcomes more money for medicines. We have been campaigning for this for nearly two years. But when a significant portion of the funding comes from hip and knee surgeries, staff budgets and mental health services then they are just shifting the problem around.
"The Government is expecting already cash-strapped DHBs to further reduce services in order to part-fund this election year announcement.
"The Government virtually froze Pharmac funding between 2013 and 2016, which seriously affected quality of life for many New Zealanders, and resulted in untimely death.
“Actually, when you dig into the numbers, some of this funding is a top-up required to stop Pharmac cutting services due to previous underfunding for budget out-years.
"Labour will restore the $1.7 billion stripped out of health funding. We will also introduce a ground-breaking new scheme that will support early access to new medicines," says David Clark.