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Pharmac review must be public

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

15 November 2005


Pharmac review must be public

National is demanding that the Labour Government’s promised review of Pharmac be held in public.

National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall, says the review, promised in Labour’s confidence and supply deal with United Future, should be open and the public invited to share their views.

“We don’t want a Ministry of Health in-house put-up job,” Mr Ryall told supporters of the Head Start Brain Tumour Support Group in Parliament today.

“If the review isn’t held in public, then we will ask the health select committee to hold its own inquiry into Pharmac.

The meeting was told there are major problems in New Zealand’s medicines policy where, for example, Australia, Canada and the United States can authorise drug subsidies within three months, but in New Zealand such considerations can take far longer.

“Why are we so far behind?

“The review needs to consider how the pharmaceutical and health budgets can work together to improve choice and availability. If we spend more on drugs to help people, then we should in fact save on hospital costs. But the two budgets are kept separate.

“The Pharmac review should be held in public, allowing ordinary New Zealanders to have their say. It can’t be held in secret; people have got stories to tell. After all, that’s what Peter Dunne promised,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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