US Drug Companies’ Naked Assault on Pharmac through Trans-Pacific Partnership

Media Release: Professor Jane Kelsey. Monday 2 May 2011.

The lobby group for the US drug companies, PhRMA has launched a direct and vitriolic attack on Pharmac, the New Zealand drug purchasing body, TPPA-critic Professor Jane Kelsey said.

Their submissions urges the US Trade Representative to use the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to tighten the intellectual property rules – and boost their profits in New Zealand.

PhRMA claims the agency that makes the medicines affordable for ordinary Kiwis is an “egregious” example of a “lack of transparency and due process in pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement decisions”.

It even implies that New Zealand’s low OECD ranking for the rate of avoidable deaths can be laid at Pharmac’s door.

When these mega-drug companies call for “meaningful opportunities for manufacturers and other stakeholders’” into Pharmac’s decision they mean exercising the kind of leverage we saw from Warners on the Hobbit”, said TPPA-critic Professor Jane Kelsey.

“These companies are notorious for commercial blackmail, threatening to withhold access to certain drugs unless they get their way”.

“When they refer to ‘science-based decision making’ they mean that cost should not be a consideration. Basically they want us to low out the health budget by siphoning more money directly into their coffers”, said Professor Kelsey.

“This is a naked attack on our public health system and demonstrates the appalling implications of this agreement for ordinary New Zealanders”.



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