Smoke and Mirrors on Pharmac funding

Today’s announcement by John Key and Jonathan Coleman on Pharmac funding is a classic piece of financial jiggery-pokery, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. 

“While I welcome any boost to the Pharmac budget this does not go far enough.

“The cash injection of $11.1 million will come from DHB’s own pockets. This means that DHBs already under pressure from a cut of $1.7 billion in health spending have to make even more cuts. 

“DHBs are already facing a financial deficit this year of $46 million, up from the $19 million the Minister planned. 

“Pharmac has made it clear that 20 new drugs need to be funded but today’s announcement will see only seven drugs considered. 

“To just restore Pharmac to the funding position of 2011-2012  would need $53 million more than today’s announcement for 2016-17. This is calculated on an Infometrics model based on Treasury’s own figures. 

“This is a rushed and half-hearted attempt at dampening down public concerns over the lack of anti-melanoma drug funding. 

“Labour has always campaigned for an early access scheme for life saving drugs. We stand by that approach and welcome the Cancer Society’s proposed policy in this area,” says Annette King.