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Sole supply of pharmaceuticals

15 March 2005

Sole supply of pharmaceuticals - a crisis waiting to happen

The Researched Medicines Industry today warns that sole supply contracts for pharmaceuticals are putting the health of New Zealanders at risk.

"It is PHARMAC's preference for sole supply arrangements that have lead to the current situation with the influenza vaccine," says RMI Chairman, Dr Pippa MacKay.

Dr MacKay says that while PHARMAC has successfully used sole supply arrangements with pharmaceutical manufacturers to cut costs, these savings simply do not outweigh the inherent risks of using only one supplier.

"If the manufacturer fails to meet their supply obligations PHARMAC can take them to task, but this does not resolve the problem for the people who need the medicines now and cannot afford to wait for another supplier to come to the rescue".

"With the influenza vaccine we now have a public health issue that may well result in illness, additional health costs and a drain on scarce health resources. All of this may have been avoided if PHARMAC had put good sense ahead of dollars and signed up more than one supplier".

ENDS

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