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Drugs funding is paying for hospital deficits

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

10 November 2002

Drugs funding is paying for hospital deficits

National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says she is appalled that the Government is taking money from the pharmaceutical budget to pay off the record deficits it has created in our hospitals

The Pharmaceutical Management Agency's Annual Report shows that a $23 million surplus went towards offsetting the huge hospital deficit and toward other health services.

"Using this surplus to bail out underfunded health boards has deprived New Zealanders access to new drugs. New Zealanders in need who would usually have the benefit of that funding are missing out.

"Alzheimer's suffers, those with osteoporosis, arthritis and mental health problems have all missed out because this money has been used for other health services.

"Pharmac should have been able to put away funding for drugs they have been negotiating on, like Glivec just approved for chronic myeloid leukaemia patients. Instead $23 million has gone to help pay off the record hospital deficit the Health Minister has encouraged boards to rack up.

"This is the price New Zealanders are paying for record hospital deficits," said Dr Scott.

Ends

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