Media release from NZNO
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is concerned that,
despite the Prime Minister's previous assurances that the
fundamentals of New Zealand's drug buying agency Pharmac would be
protected during trade talks, the opposite appears to be the
This weekend the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) chief negotiator,
David Walker would not rule out supporting stronger intellectual
property protections for big business, which would certainly
undermine Pharmac. He stated that Pharmac was part of the "give and
take" of the trade deal.
NZNO policy analyst, Marilyn Head says, "The extreme proposals to
extend intellectual property rights being negotiated in the TPP
agreement will significantly affect Pharmac by delaying the
availability of low-cost generic drugs for New Zealanders."
"Generic drugs are fundamental to Pharmac's ability to provide
affordable medicines. Without them, the cost of medicines will
increase and more people will miss out on essential health
Pharmac operates within a fixed budget and increased costs will
force it to either reduce the range of subsidised medicines and/or
increase prescription charges. Alternatively, Pharmac's share
of the health budget could be increased, but that would be at the
expense of other areas of health.
"If New Zealand submits to US demands on intellectual property that
threaten the Pharmac model, it will not be only New Zealanders
access to affordable medicines that will be affected, "says
"There are several developing countries in the TPP whose
populations will be similarly affected by increased costs. New
Zealand needs to stand firm on current intellectual property
protections, to ensure the widest and fairest access to
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