It is outrageous that politicians interfere with Pharmac.
Pharmac are the experts. They are the Drs. We listen to them because they know the impacts and effects of policy on medicine. They fund what works, they fund for all of us.
The problem is the budgetary straightjacket Pharmac are locked into means they can’t expand to the new cancer treatments that are changing so many peoples lives.
Here’s how Labour should prosecute this honourably while highlighting the utter hypocrisy of Key over Herceptin. Get Pharmac to work out how much it will cost to make this new melanoma drug available and then pledge to match that. Forcing Pharmac to find the money in their existing budget is outrageous, agreeing to pick up the tab because that’s the decent thing to do for NZers blighted by melanoma is the right way to interfere.
Labour have an opportunity to show how Government intervention can work while framing Key as out of touch.
Getting that narrative win won’t be easy. Fairfax ran a beautiful smear out of Coleman’s office that Little had had dinner with executives of the cancer drug.
Insinuating that dying cancer patients are in the pocket of big pharma is pretty gross even for Cameron Slater, but to have the mainstream media use it so Coleman’s Office can shift the heat away from their croaky Minister is ugly.
There was no internal division about Little meeting the company and the desperate spin being used to deflect attention is another example of how flat footed the Government have become when legitimately challenged. They don’t respond with any actual explanation of their policy, they just launch counter smears to attack Labour for daring to ask questions.
Meanwhile ordinary NZers who don’t have the wealth to buy the new drugs are dying.
What’s the use of Government if all it does is get a balanced budget? We can get an accountant to do that, this requires leadership and Key is simply not showing any.