Like the ACC, Pharmac is a Kiwi institution that delivers benefits to everyone at a lower cost than other countries. National has got ACC on the butcher’s block. We must make sure that Pharmac doesn’t follow.
The problem is that the government is trying to negotiate a free trade agreement with America (the TPP). Pharmac pisses of the American drug companies, so (via their puppet politicians) they’re applying pressure to the government to ditch Pharmac as the price of the deal. We’d have to be mad to agree. Here’s Gareth Morgan’s take:
Pharmac bashers need a dose of reality
Despite being the chief advocate for free trade, the United States has a reputation for negotiating trade deals that turn out to have more fish hooks in them than a Japanese long-liner. Could the Trans Pacific Partnership deal be shaping up to be another example?
Behind the scenes, drug companies are spreading misinformation to undermine our state monopoly drug purchaser Pharmac. …
Pharmac’s job is to get the best value for the budget it manages, and it does this job very well. It does this by buying the medicines that add the most years of healthy life for the money spent, and striking the best deal with the pharmaceutical giants. …
But of course the drug oligopoly wishes it could control our drug budget, and will no doubt be seeking the backing of US government negotiators.
Tough. Leave Pharmac alone, America, just buy our butter and wool and we’ll buy your Harley-Davidsons. Or get lost and we’ll deal with China instead.
This anonymous Herald editorial gets it: “Pharmac more important than US deal”. The Labour Party get it. Phil Goff says we won’t weaken Pharmac for the TPP — this is “an absolute bottom line”. But do the Nats get it? Key is dithering:
Prime Minister John Key says the New Zealand Government would take “a fair bit of convincing” that Pharmac wasn’t the best model to keep under the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement under negotiation.
He made his comment after 28 United States senators wrote to President Barack Obama expressing concerns about intellectual property aspects of the TPP, alluding to without naming Pharmac.
“A fair bit of convincing”? Not good enough. Pharmac is a proven asset to our country. Key needs to grow a pair and tell America it is not negotiable. And if that sinks the TPP, so much the better. The TPP is a poisoned chalice that requires us to surrender far too much of our soverignty. If we can get an acceptable free trade agreement with America, well and good. But the TPP isn’t it.