Pharmac cost increase, under TPPA, must come from new funding

The Green Party is calling on the Government to guarantee not one cent of the health budget will be funnelled into additional subsidies for Pharmac when it’s forced to pay more for medicines under the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

The Green Party is calling on the Government to guarantee not one cent of the health budget will be funnelled into additional subsidies for Pharmac when it’s forced to pay more for medicines under the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

“John Key has finally conceded, after years of denial, that New Zealanders will have to pay more for medicine if we sign the TPPA,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

“John Key needs to guarantee the extra cost to Pharmac, because of the TPPA, will come from increased funding to the health budget, not from cost cutting in other health sectors.

“How does the Government plan to fund the extra cost to Pharmac when they are cutting the Budget every year?

"Without putting new money into the health budget, under the TPPA, New Zealanders will either get fewer medications or a poorer healthcare system. Both of these are completely unacceptable.

“The health budget doesn’t even keep up with increasing need and inflation year on year, there is no way it can sustain the additional cost of drugs because of the TPPA.

“Any erosion of Pharmac’s negotiating power or increased cost is likely to mean New Zealanders get slower access to new cancer or arthritis medicines, if they end up being funded here at all.

“This Government is signing up to a free trade agreement that has no benefit to New Zealanders, least of all the most vulnerable who rely on our world-leading pharmaceutical subsidy system.

“New Zealanders don’t want the Government to mess with Pharmac but it seems that John Key will sign this agreement no matter what it costs the average Kiwi,” said Mr Hague.

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