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A Red Flag For A Green Party

The Green’s released their policy document yesterday for the coming election titled “Think Ahead.” Within their Health policy it states the Party will “Uphold the independence and strength of PHARMAC.” Within their Human Rights policy it also states that the New Zealand Bill of Rights should bind government. Section 8 of the Act states that “No one shall be deprived of life.”

States Chair of Patient Voice Aotearoa, Malcolm Mulholland, “I don’t think the Green’s thought too much ahead before contradicting their own policy. To uphold the PHARMAC model is to deny the 35 children who could be protected from a cruel motor neuron disease if Spinraza was funded. It would appear that the Greens are reneging on their policies from the previous two elections which promised equity in medicine access, especially for those with rare diseases. The Greens also seem not to have been following the Lamotrigine drug switch scandal that is currently unfolding before the public and has potentially cost the lives of seven epilepsy patients.

“Since the release of the policy, Patient Voice Aotearoa has been contacted by a high number of members who have stated they will not be voting for the Green’s unless they change their policy regarding PHARMAC. Such examples include ‘Guess I won’t be voting for the Greens this election!’, ‘As a lifetime voter of the Greens…this is the absolute final straw for me’ and ‘I was going to vote Green. If this is their policy I won’t.’

“In theory, we agree with PHARMAC’s independent decision-making role. However, politicians must take action to ensure that PHARMAC is adequately funded to clear the shameful number of modern medicines currently languishing on its waiting list. The more than 100 medicines on PHARMAC’s list have been recommended by the agency’s experts but PHARMAC is too poorly funded by Government to subsidise them. Any policy that maintains the status quo of children dying prematurely of conditions like SMA or Maori dying too soon from cancer because of lack of access to medicines is inequitable and unjust. New Zealanders deserve more honesty when it comes to fixing PHARMAC and they need the government to fund PHARMAC better so people aren’t denied the most basic human right of all – the right to life.

“There are still eight weeks before the election, so its not too late for the Greens to change their policy and for it to make coherent sense. We can share the perspectives of patients they are supposed to be serving and we are willing to engage with any political party that is prepared to listen. Patient Voice Aotearoa waits with anticipation to see if other political parties will release their policy regarding PHARMAC that serves the health needs of thousands of New Zealanders, rather than continuing to please Treasury.

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