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Govt must act on drugs shortage

Govt must act on drugs shortage

New Zealand is losing its first world health status when New Zealander’s cannot get access to essential day to day drugs, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

“The reason New Zealand is short of epilepsy, indigestion, allergy and kidney dialysis drugs is because Pharmac’s ‘sole supply’ drugs policy is leaving New Zealand with only one supplier of many drugs.

Dr Scott revealed a shortage of fully subsidised antibiotics, anti-inflamatories and iron liquid over the Christmas period.

“The limited supply of a drug for epilepsy will have serious consequences for these patients if we run out.

“Patients are getting only limited access to drugs because Pharmac is under pressure from this Government to cut costs through its sole supply drugs policy, but this is leaving New Zealanders vulnerable.
“I am surprised that Pharmac does not have some concern at the impact of this policy. Patients cannot get much-needed drugs from other suppliers because of the sole supply policy.

“Those who can’t get the drugs they need have to battle on in pain or spend more on alternative medicines. It is unacceptable that the Minister of Health has wound Pharmac’s budget down so much that it has to operate in this way.

“Health Minister Annette King needs to answer why she has not increased the funding to Pharmac so that this is not a miserable summer for patients,” says Dr Lynda Scott.

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