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Trade minister must listen to medical specialists on TPP

Trade minister must listen to medical specialists warning on trans pacific trade negotiations

“Trade Minister Tim Groser must listen to the serious warning raised by medical specialists over the threats to patients and taxpayers in the Trans Pacific trade negotiations. He damages his government’s credibility by dismissing them as politically irrelevant,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

Mr Powell was referring to the article published today by Drs Erik Monasterio, Phil Pattemore and George Laking. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/70236755/critics-of-trade-deal-are-not-politically-irrelevant.

“The earlier leak (WikiLeaks) revealed that large American drug company monopolies would be able, under the proposed deal, to interfere in the decision-making of New Zealander’s drug buying agency (Pharmac) and severely weaken its performance, including in the control of patents.

“In 2014 Pharmac saved more than $1.2 billion in that year alone. Pharmac is able to buy medicines at an average discount of about two-thirds. But this deal would increase monopoly power of large overseas drug companies. This is not free trade; instead it is introducing the power of big business into our public health service.

Mr Powell noted the advice of the medical specialists that the proposed deal would have an alarming effect on the group of medicines called ‘biologicals’. These medicines cost Pharmac $163 million last year. Under the proposed trade deal these drugs will cost at least another $25-50 million a year.

“Last November delegates to the ASMS Annual Conference, representing over 90% of specialists working in the public health service, called on the government to undertake an independent health impact assessment on the proposed agreement. What could be more reasonable and politically relevant than this?”


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