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King About To Score 'Own Goal'

King About To Score 'Own Goal'

Despite intense media speculation yesterday and today, it seems that Health Minister Annette King and Cabinet have made no decision on Direct-To-the-Consumer-Advertising of pharmaceuticals, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy revealed today.

"It is my understanding that Cabinet committee yesterday instructed the Minister to push toward harmonisation with Australia as soon as possible," Mrs Roy said.

"This led to speculation following Ms King's statement, that she would soon make an announcement with regard to DTCA. However, the plot thickens - with Australian media reports, and industry sources, claiming that a negotiating point for a free trade agreement between the US and Australia is the approval of DTCA.

"It seems, therefore, that harmonisation between New Zealand and Australia may well leave us with brand advertising, as is currently the case - and appropriately so.

"As politically incorrect as it is to admit, advertising has positive effects - it raises awareness of medical problems and conditions, and shows sufferers there are options available to them.

"In New Zealand we have always cherished free speech. Banning advertising is not only an affront to our heritage, but also a violation of our rights. The end result will be public ignorance of medical health issues," Mrs Roy said.

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