Working for better health care in New Zealand

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is the professional association and union uniting doctors and dentists in New Zealand.

  • News – ASMS News

TPPA document release shows Pharmac will be undermined

11 June 2015

“The Government has serious questions to answer about how it plans to protect the country’s drugs-buying agency, Pharmac, following the release of a significant Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) document,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS). “This document shows that, contrary to the Government’s assurances to date, Pharmac will be left vulnerable and exposed under the TPPA, with pharmaceutical companies able to interfere in their processes to a level not experienced here before.  “The Annex on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices from the TPPA negotiations has been posted on the WikiLeaks website ( It outlines a series of principles and procedures by which agencies such as Pharmac must operate. The full ASMS media release can be read here.

Dr Joshua Freeman, an Auckland pathologist, ASMS member and one of the founders of the group Doctors for Healthy Trade, was interviewed on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme about the Annex document:

Law Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland told Radio New Zealand the leaked text shows the trade agreement will seriously erode Pharmac’s ability:

TV3 News provided this coverage of the leaked documents:

Professor Jane Kelsey says New Zealand’s health system is being held to ransom.  Commenting on the release of Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) documents posted on the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, she says Pharmac is the most exposed of any programme in a negotiating country and the real motivation behind the documents is for changes in Pharmac to reduce its effectiveness as a precedent for other countries:

Meanwhile, the group Doctors for Healthy Trade say the leaked document shows that while the language in the Annex appears benign, the changes would give pharmaceutical companies a combination of new levers to undermine Pharmac process and lead to less affordable medicines: