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King's Big Pharmaceutical U-Turn

King's Big Pharmaceutical U-Turn

Thursday 4 Sep 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

In true Labour style, Health Minister Annette King has broken her promise to tens of thousands of New Zealanders, to introduce maximum $3 co-payments for pharmaceuticals for PHO patients under 18 and all access PHO patients from October 1, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Ms King promised to implement this initiative from October 1, but information I have received from several sources indicates that this will not be the case," Mrs Roy said.

"Since the Budget announcement earlier this year, the Minister has widely and loudly proclaimed these cheaper pharmaceuticals at every opportunity she had. Now, it is clear there are major problems with this plan.

"Ms King's evasion of my questions in Parliament is further reinforcement of this. I asked her to guarantee the October 1 implementation. She replied `in the near future I will take to Cabinet a package of measures that includes the co-payment area and looks at reducing the cost to those over 65 years of age.' Yet, in May, she announced them as done deals.

"She has avoided answering questions on the under-18 issue and has made no to a timeframe. These delays are most certainly related to policy problems and resourcing issues with health across the board, and PHOs in particular.

"The Minister must front up and explain what is happening for the health sector, particularly the pharmacists - as well as the tens of thousands of patients whose expectations she has raised," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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