It’s not just housing affected by the TPPA, Prime Minister – ASMS

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It’s not just housing affected by the TPPA, Prime Minister – don’t forget health

“The new Government needs to also keep the potential impact on health in mind as it prepares to take on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement over offshore investment in New Zealand’s housing market,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“Fixing the problems we have with housing in this country is obviously a priority for the Government but the potential impact on health policy and provision is also very important, and we’d urge the Government to keep that in mind as it heads off to APEC next week.”

He was commenting on reports that Trade Minister David Parker is considering advice that an explicit ban on house sales to offshore speculators could be acceptable under the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it is passed into New Zealand law before the trade deal comes into force (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11938120).

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Ministers and leaders from 11 nations are due to meet during the summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum from 8-11 November.

Mr Powell says senior doctors and dentists have repeatedly supported calls for an independent assessment of the impact on health (https://www.asms.org.nz/news/asms-news/2014/11/28/senior-doctors-support-call-independent-health-assessment-tppa/).

“The TPPA signed by the former National led Government and opposed by Labour in opposition would have undermined the effectiveness of our largely successful state drug funding agency, Pharmac” (https://www.asms.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/TPPA-document-release-shows-Pharmac-will-be-undermined-_163769.1.pdf).

In March last year, ASMS reported that New Zealand was likely to come under pressure to extend the monopoly times for a new group of potentially life-saving specialty medicines under the TPPA signed by the former Government (https://www.asms.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ASMS-CTU-media-release-Likely-impact-of-TPPA-on-biologic-medicines-a-concern-1.pdf).

“No one wants health care in this country to be influenced by the vested interests of big international corporates, who will have no scruples about undermining New Zealand’s health system if it gets in the way of their profits.

“Senior doctors have welcomed the new Government’s health policies and are very keen to engage over their implementation. A key part of that for the Government is preserving New Zealand’s autonomy in health decision-making, and not letting the big corporates bully us into decisions that would compromise the health care of our communities,” says Mr Powell.

“Before considering signing this new version of the TPPA the Prime Minister should insist that there is an independent clinical assessment of its impact on our health system including the medicines that our patients depend on.”