Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Pharmac itself says medicines ads out of control

Pharmac itself says medicines advertising out of control

Direct to consumer advertising of prescription medicines has contributed to a $10.7 million blowout of Pharmac's budget, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Information sought by Ms Kedgley under the Official Information Act from Pharmac shows that from 2001 to 2002, dispensings of the top four pharmaceuticals that were directly marketed to consumers increased by a massive 42%. Pharmac estimates that direct to consumer advertising contributed as much as 21.8 per cent of this dramatic increase in dispensing.

In dollar terms, these four pharmaceuticals contributed an extra $10.7 million to Pharmac spending (before rebates) in 2001/2 compared with the previous financial year - a 24 per cent increase, according to Pharmac. "Given that these four pharmaceuticals were marketed intensively to consumers during this time, it is clear that a significant portion of that $10.7 million was a result of direct to consumer advertising. Pharmac itself acknowledges the likelihood of this," Ms Kedgley said.

All four directly marketed prescription pharmaceuticals are subsidised by the Government via Pharmac, and hence by the taxpayer. "These figures show that the taxpayer is effectively paying for pharmaceutical companies to increase their profits by manipulating direct to consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals," Ms Kedgley said. "The figures are further proof that New Zealand's controversial experiment with direct to consumer advertising of medicines has been a spectacular failure, and should be banned immediately."

The information provided by Pharmac includes a report by Pharmac demand side manager Rachel Wilson to the Pharmac board on 28 November 2002, in which she outlines the impact of direct to consumer advertising on pharmaceutical expenditure and dispensing volume growth.

The report states that direct to consumer advertising creates fiscal risk on the limited Government pharmaceutical budget; by driving up demand for pharmaceuticals and increasing demand for Pharmac to subsidise advertised medicines. Ms Kedgley said the report confirmed that New Zealand had the most relaxed laws for advertising drugs in the world. More than 18 prescription medicines were advertised directly to consumers in 2001, through television, radio, cinema and printed media. One company, GlaxoSmithKline spent more than $15 million on advertising pharmaceuticals in 2001.

The report also confirmed that almost 30% of advertisements failed to comply with regulatory requirements. Many did not identify precautions, contra-indications or side effects. Ms Kedgley also pointed out that the Government had not tightened controls on direct to consumer advertising of medicines, as the Minister of Health had promised to do back in August 2001.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news