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Review Pharmac’s role after flu jab fiasco

Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Dunne: Review Pharmac’s role after flu jab fiasco

Getting Pharmac involved in anything more complicated than purchasing aspirin is a recipe for giving New Zealand a headache, United Future leader Peter Dunne said today as the fallout continued over the botched flu vaccines.

“For seven years we have had the flu vaccine supplied without incident. They get involved for the first time and we have a mess,” he said.

Annually about 33 New Zealanders die from influenza, and we can expect more fatalities without an adequate vaccine, Mr Dunne said.

“Pharmac gets into the process and we have a new supplier, an inadequate product - no doubt at a very reasonable price.

“Unfortunately this is exactly the kind of practice that is inflicted on New Zealanders at an individual level who have medication that works for them changed at Pharmac’s whim - but this time it’s on a particularly large and potentially lethal scale.”

He said United Future wanted Pharmac’s role and operations reviewed to ensure that it extends its thinking further “than simply seeking out the cheapest pill or the cheapest injection”.

“Because right now New Zealanders appear to be preparing for price for that policy,” he said.

ENDS

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