New Zealand Labour Party

Groser playing games over Pharmac fallout

Tim Groser is not being upfront with Kiwis about what the TPP will mean with regards to life-saving drug costs, Labour’s Acting Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Claims by Mr Groser that Kiwis won’t be paying more for their medicine under the TPP should be taken with a large dose of scepticism. He let the Australians do the running on this, while he concentrated on dairy. The result is a dud deal for dairy and a less than clear proposal on drug costs.

“Tim Groser has also been silent on the compromise he accepted for the five years of data exclusivity – extending patent lengths on medicines if there is any delay in them entering the New Zealand market.

“Pharmac's job is to get the best value it can for the taxpayer regardless of where it finds it. Forcing Pharmac to be more transparent will undermine its ability on how it negotiates to deliver low-cost life-saving drugs to Kiwis. That’s like forcing the All Blacks to reveal their game plan before a test match.

“John Key has already primed us for a ‘small increase’ in the cost of medicines. We now have Tim Groser talking about a $4.5 million software setup cost to provide data that negotiating partners wanted and another $2.2 million annually after that. He also claims the cost of the subsidy bill will not go up by ‘any great extent’, which defies logic.

“Requiring Pharmac to set up its own specific review process for funding applications it has declined has the potential to be abused by pharmaceutical companies.

“In real speak that means the Pharmac model has not been protected.

“Mr Groser needs to come out from behind the safety of the Australian negotiators and tell New Zealanders exactly what he’s traded away.”