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King's Broken Pharmaceutical Promise

King's Broken Pharmaceutical Promise

Monday 15 Sep 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

Health Minister Annette King will not deliver on her Budget promise to lower the cost of prescription medicines, from $15-$3 per prescription on October 1, for the country's poorest patients - those enrolled in access PHOs, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"In the last Budget, Ms King announced that these patients - as well as those under 18 years old, enrolled in PHOs - would pay a maximum of $3 for each prescription from October 1, 2003," Mrs Roy said.

"There is evidence that the timetable for the pharmacy computer system changes, required to facilitate the Minister's plan, is hitting serious problems. Clearly, no timeline or decisions have actually been made about completion of this project - despite the Minister's earlier assurance.

"When asked in Parliament if the October 1 implementation was still on track, Ms King avoided the question, saying `in the near future I will take to Cabinet a package of measures that includes the co-payment area ... and I will announce a decision of that in the near future'.

"Answers to my Parliamentary Questions - seeking confirmation that her promise, to tens of thousands of New Zealanders, will not be broken - are due in two days. Having caught the Minister out in reneging on her Budget promise, I would now not be surprised if she were to make a damage control announcement soon.

"Patients should not hold their breath - contrary to the Minister's promise, cheaper pharmaceuticals are not two weeks away. PHOs will be left holding the baby on October 1. It will again be doctors and nurses at the coalface - not the Minister - who will have to break the news to irate patients expecting savings," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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