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First World Medicine Further And Further Away

First World Medicine Further And Further Away

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today accused the Labour Government of allowing its distaste of the private sector to put New Zealanders' lives at risk, after yet another pharmaceutical company pulled its research and development funding out of New Zealand.

"In response to PHARMAC's decision to subsidise the cheaper cholesterol-lowering agent Lipex, pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced it will withdraw its research and development funding - at least $40 million - from New Zealand," Mrs Roy said.

"PHARMAC intends to `grandparent' the existing medication, Lipitor, for another two months. But New Zealand cardiology expert Dr Harvey White says that - with Lipex being only a quarter as potent as Lipitor - the switch could result in as many as 60 deaths each year.

"There is almost a complete absence of pharmaceutical research and development in New Zealand. With new drug development being a key sector in high technology research, our doctors are slowly losing touch with First World medicine.

"The fact that New Zealand is losing top line scientific and medical expertise makes a total nonsense of the Labour Government's much touted `Knowledge Wave' economy. This is the brain drain in action

"It will now be only the rich who can afford the most effective cholesterol-lowering treatment, while the wider New Zealand public loses out," Mrs Roy said.

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