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Another reason why we need a Medicines Strategy

Media statement

For immediate release

Sunday, February 13, 2008

Turner: ANOTHER reason why we need a Medicines Strategy

The heart-wrenching story of Brenda Cottle outlined in the media demonstrates yet another reason why UnitedFuture chose to include the development of a Medicines Strategy as part of its Supply and Confidence deal with the Labour government, says UnitedFuture deputy leader, Judy Turner

Ms Cottle, described as having chronic obstructive respiratory disease, was given a free trial of a Spiriva inhaler.

Spiriva is a new cutting edge drug for people with Ms Cottle's condition and she described the drug as "marvellous".

“However when she applied for ongoing inhalers she was refused any subsidy and needed to get special dispensation to avoid having to pay $120 a month to enjoy the quality of life Spiriva gives her.

“Asthma is a very common health problem in New Zealand with one in four children needing medication. I

“It is ridiculous that New Zealanders are often years behind countries like Australia in getting access to these new generation drugs.

“Only those who have respiratory problems know how frightening it is to have to struggle for every breath and with asthma being such a big problem it seems ridiculous that we regularly end up spending thousands of dollars on hospitalisations for sufferers when there is medicine able to prevent this.

“The Medicines Strategy released by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne before Christmas is welcome news for all New Zealanders as it brings a commonsense approach to this matter.

“The strategy was developed in consultation with all the key stakeholders from pharmaceutical companies to consumer health groups and means that in the future there will be a more principled approach to decision making around the provision of drugs,” said Mrs Turner.


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