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No Blood In This Stone

No Blood In This Stone

PHARMAC's latest plan to remove the subsidy from the popular cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, will affect around 10,000 Kiwi patients, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Lipex, the other funded agent, is not as potent as Lipitor and has side effects that many patients cannot tolerate," Mrs Roy said.

"PHARMAC - yet again - is reducing the range of drugs available to patients, by reducing the choice of drugs available to doctors, when they prescribe a cholesterol-lowering agent.

"Cost, not cost effectiveness, appears to be PHARMAC's main concern. Despite recent Health Ministry research - showing elevated blood cholesterol is a major cause of death - PHARMAC's move to further decrease pharmaceutical costs will claim an additional 60 lives in the first year, according to top cardiologists.

"Health Minister Annette King's lack of comment must be considered tacit approval. She has not held back in recent times from heavily criticising the pharmaceutical industry and community pharmacies. Ms King obviously sees them as charities, not businesses.

"What the Minister fails to understand, is that making a profit, is not inconsistent with saving people's lives," Mrs Roy said.

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