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No order to purchase vaccine

Paul Hutchison MP
National Party Health Spokesman

31 March 2005

No order to purchase vaccine

Though the Ministry of Health has said the less effective Vaxigrip flu vaccine will be available from April 18, Pharmac has made no order or commitment to purchase it, says National’s Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

In addition, the 368,000 doses of fully-effective flu vaccine that Pharmac are to purchase from GlaxoSmithKline will cost almost $4 million, twice as much as the original Sanofi-Pasteur vaccine.

Dr Hutchison says to make matters worse, Pharmac may not have a good case for compensation against Merck Sharpe and Dohme because Medsafe was planning to approve the Sanofi-Pasteur vaccine while she and Pharmac were scrambling around looking for alternative options.

“There are still huge questions to be answered by Health Minister Annette King as to why she claims not to have known the ‘nature of the problem’ with the flu vaccine until March 7.

“It seems more than bad management that twice within one month Ms King has been inattentive to a major public health problem.

“Surely she would have ensured that an order had been made for the less effective vaccine, which is supposed to be available within just 18 days.

“This is not only bad management but it appears Ms King is being negligent,” says Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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