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Key must come clean about TPP and Pharmac before election

Key must come clean about TPP and Pharmac before election

John Key needs to be absolutely clear with the New Zealand public before the election about whether he would trade off Pharmac in the interest of signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

Three United States-proposed texts from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations were leaked over the weekend. These texts - which normally would have been withheld from the public for four years - would negatively impact on New Zealand's drug buying agency Pharmac if adopted.

"Pharmac is seen by United States drug companies as a threat," said Dr Norman. "Pharmac's buying power and use of cheaper generic drugs assists New Zealanders get affordable access to life saving medicines.

The US proposals would open up Pharmac's decision making to litigation from United States patent attorneys, and it would extend the life of drug patents, restricting Pharmac's ability to use cheaper generics.

"Signing an agreement in secret that would weaken Pharmac is not in our long term interests," said Dr Norman.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership could impact on New Zealanders' ability to receive medicine and severely affect our already stretched health budget.

"Signing up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have far reaching effects on our abilities to make laws and regulations.

"This is no ordinary trade deal. It is less about getting market access for our products and more about giving new rights to foreign companies that will undermine good Kiwi initiatives like Pharmac.

"New Zealanders should be thankful that someone with a conscience has leaked these negotiating papers," said Dr Norman.

"Otherwise the New Zealand public would have had to wait four years to find out what our Government was willing to sacrifice for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement."

Link to the leaked documents: http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/blog/2011/10/22/leaked-trans-pacific-fta-texts-reveal-u-s-undermining-access-to-medicine/

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