The Government’s underfunding of medicines is behind their failure to support a Health Select Committee Inquiry into Pharmac, says National Health Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse.
“National members voted in favour and the Labour and NZ First members voted against the motion, which resulted in the motion being lost.
“Malcolm Mulholland raised the possibility of an inquiry with the Select Committee last year and Labour members were supportive, but when he spoke to the Committee Chair Louisa Wall again in February she alluded to the inquiry being blocked by Health Minister David Clark.
“If this is the case then Dr Clark needs to come clean, and make sure he is not interfering with the Select Committee that he himself has said should be a ‘watchdog’ for his own actions.
“The Committee also received a petition to fund breast cancer drugs Ibrance and Kadcyla, with heart-breaking submissions from women with advanced breast cancer. They want answers as to why these drugs aren’t being funded and a broader inquiry of Pharmac would shed some light to the quality, transparency and timing of decision-making.
“Government members of the Committee must explain to those submitters and the wider public why they don’t agree.
“In Budget 2018 the Government decided not to reinvest the $200m of savings made by Pharmac taking over the purchase of hospital based medicines into new medicines. This was a huge lost opportunity.
“In February the Prime Minister said she would not block an Inquiry into Pharmac. The Labour members of the Health Select Committee need to explain why they know better than the Prime Minister.”