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Nearly $1 mil worth of antibiotics wasted

Tony Ryall MP National Party Health Spokesman

15 May 2008

Nearly $1 mil worth of antibiotics wasted

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says the Labour Government's legacy of waste in the health sector has been laid bare with figures showing nearly $1 million worth of antibiotics have been poured down the drain.

"The New Zealand taxpayer is not only subsidising cheap medicines for tourists and some overseas students, but apparently the country can afford to waste nearly $1 million worth of antibiotics as well."

Mr Ryall is referring to David Cunliffe's answer to a Parliamentary question which sought to find out whether the Government had delivered on its promise that drugs purchased in preparation for the bird flu pandemic would not be wasted.

"National was amazed by the answer. Mr Cunliffe confirmed that $847,875 worth of the oral liquid antibiotic Amoxycillin Clavulanate has been destroyed because it has expired. This is a fifth of the national stockpile of pandemic plan antibiotics.

"This is despite Pharmac promising that it would rotate and recycle antibiotics that were not used.

"Just this week, it has also been revealed that taxpayers have been funding subsidised prescriptions for people who are not entitled."

National's Associate Health spokeswoman (Pharmacare) Jackie Blue says Pharmac is making decisions on a daily basis about which medicines it can afford to fund.

"Patients have to jump over hurdle after hurdle to get the medicines they need. Yet here we have a situation where scarce health dollars are going down the gurglar.

"This antibiotic has a two year shelf life, so it could and should have been rotated like the Government promised."


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