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.

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Threat to New Zealand’s public health services re-emerges with prospect of US involvement in trade deal

13 April 2018 Media Release - ASMS

“New Zealand has further cause to worry about the implications for our health system with the news that the US President is considering rejoining the international trade deal formerly known as the TPPA,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

He was commenting on media reports that Donald Trump has asked his advisors to look into rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPATPP) (

Senior doctors have repeatedly called for an independent health impact assessment of the trade deal, including the potential impact on key global health issues such as climate change, antibiotic resistance and the social determinants of health.

Mr Powell says all of the threats to New Zealand’s health system – including the prospect of interference in Pharmac and increased control over patents to block cheaper generic medicines – which were suspended while the US was not a signatory to the deal now re-emerge.

“The Government needs to have a serious rethink, given this increased threat to New Zealand’s health system,” he says. “This also reinforces the need for an independent health impact assessment, which senior doctors strongly support and which Labour was committed to while in Opposition.

“We’re looking to the Government to respond appropriately to this risk, which could have far-reaching implications for New Zealand’s public health services.”