Leaks prove Pharmac under threat from TPPA

The latest Wikileaks documents prove the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a threat to Pharmac, and New Zealanders access to affordable medicine, the Green Party said today.

The leaked documents include a series of principles and procedures by which agencies like Pharmac must operate. These procedures are designed to let the pharmaceutical industry challenge Pharmac’s decision-making process, rendering Pharmac less effective at saving money.

The latest Wikileaks documents prove the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a threat to Pharmac, and New Zealanders' access to affordable medicine, the Green Party said today.

The leaked documents include a series of principles and procedures by which agencies like Pharmac must operate. These procedures are designed to let the pharmaceutical industry challenge Pharmac’s decision-making process, rendering Pharmac less effective at saving money.

“Pharmac is seen by United States-based pharmaceutical companies as a threat," said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The way Pharmac operates with its buying power assists New Zealanders to get affordable access to medicines.

“The Government should not sign a trade deal that pushes up the price of medicine for New Zealanders in order to give new rights to US pharmaceutical companies.

“This is a classic case of the private interests of companies with expensive lobbyists trumping the public interest.

“It is no surprise the TPPA is being written in the interest of big business, as their lobbyists are allowed to attend negotiations and have access to Ministers in a way that everyday New Zealanders don’t.

“The United States can play hardball with the TPPA under its certification process and refuse to bring the TPPA into force until Pharmac is redesigned to suit their pharmaceutical industry.

“It is clear from this latest leak that the Key Government and Trade Minister Tim Groser consider pushing the TPPA over the finish line more important than protecting New Zealand’s long-term health budget.

“The Government needs to put the health interests of New Zealanders ahead of the profit interests of overseas pharmaceutical companies.

“John Key and the Government need to answer this question; will they sign a deal that weakens Pharmac?

“The TPPA is more than just another trade agreement.  It could hinder access to safe, affordable medicines and restrict the ability of future governments to legislate for the good of public health,” Mr Shaw said.

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