Prime Minister needs to come clean on drug companies influence in trade negotiations; alarm bells ringing
Media Statement - Ian Powell, ASMS Executive Director
25 October 2011
“The Prime Minister needs to come clean on the influence of international drug companies in the secretive trade negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists today.
“We are concerned that Mr Key has continued to allow, as recently as today, the possibility of changes to our pharmaceutical purchasing agency, Pharmac, in response to pressure from international (mainly American) drug companies in these trade talks.”
“We should not beat about the bush. Pharmac is necessary to protect the interests of patient safety and financial rip-offs in negotiations with these powerful drug monopolies. These drug companies are focused on increasing their financial profits. Weakening Pharmac will increase the vulnerability of patients and taxpayers.”
“It will always be important to refine the way Pharmac works in such a changing dynamic area. But this should be done openly and publicly in New Zealand and be consistent with the best independent clinical advice. It should not be done through secret trade negotiations influenced by powerful drug companies seeking to increase their profits in New Zealand.”
“The Prime Minister’s comments are creating alarm bells. While he keeps ringing them the public and health professionals are right to be worried,” concluded Mr Powell.