The Green Party welcomes the announcement that Pharmac will get an extra $39 million in funding, but is calling for the Government to immediately release Pharmac’s advice on how much money it actually needs.
“The Government needs to immediately release Pharmac’s advice about the true level of funding it needs to meet increased cost pressures, including the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA),” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.
“The TPPA is the elephant in the room. The Government knows that the TPPA will push pharmaceutical costs up for Pharmac, and its likely today’s funding increase will not be enough to cover the extra costs incurred by the Government.
“Many new medicines, while appearing to offer substantial new benefits, seem to come at a much higher price tag, and the movement towards more individually tailored medicines will be more expensive still.
“This is a Government with a history of doing just enough to take the pressure off, without actually solving the bigger problem.
“The TPPA will extend drug patents, which means Pharmac is delayed access to generic medicines, such as for biologics, that patients need. This will push pharmaceutical costs up for Pharmac.
“People pay with their lives and quality of life when these decisions are made, so we need to know whether this funding increase is enough to meet the cost pressures that Pharmac are facing.
“Last year the Greens revealed that the Health Minister chose to fund Pharmac substantially less than what was required to invest in new drug treatments for sick Kiwis.
“Pharmac has been desperately short of funds for many years now, so while this funding increase is long overdue we still don’t know whether this will be sufficient to meet the health needs of New Zealanders.
“It is good news that the Government is recommitting to not interfere in Pharmac’s decision-making process.
“We have a system that buys the most drugs at the best price to provide to the largest number of New Zealanders that is reasonably free of political interference, and it needs to stay that way.