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Pharmac Review Stacked Says United

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says the Government's so-called independent review of PHARMAC's operating procedures and policies has been stacked to produce the outcome the Prime Minister wants.

Mr Dunne says the independent reviewer, Canadian Dr Joel Lexchin, is not only a known opponent of the pharmaceutical industry, but also he has close links to the Prime Minister.

"Dr Lexchin is secretary/treasurer of MaLAM (Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) and has been an outspoken critic of the pharmaceutical industry, so is hardly likely to be a genuinely independent reviewer of the way PHARMAC deals with pharmaceutical companies."

"Dr Lexchin's views that: '... pharmaceutical companies have resorted to increasingly extreme tactics by which to gain their (doctors) attention.' are set out in the book For Health or Profit? Medicine, the Pharmaceutical Industry, and the State in New Zealand published by the Oxford University Press in 1992."

"The book's editor was Dr Peter Davis, husband of the Prime Minister, who, in his Introduction, credits Dr Lexchin with the idea for the book."

"Former Health Minister Helen Clark is one of the contributors to this book, arguing that with regard to pharmaceutical companies: 'The public interest was never their concern. Profit and clinical freedom at public expense often were.' ," Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne says the combination of Dr Lexchin's views; the links to Dr Davis and the Prime Minister; and the similarity of their views on pharmaceuticals to Dr Lexchin's mean the so-called independent review will be anything but.

"Dr Lexchin's appointment is nothing more than an abject farce - his review will be just one more in the now long list of reports commissioned by this Government to tell it what it wants to hear, and to pander to its prejudices about what it already has decided."

"It is a scandalous waste of public money," Mr Dunne says.

ENDS

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