Who leaked Little’s Big Pharma meeting details?

The spin cycle is currently underway after it was revealed yesterday that Andrew Little has been hosting and enjoying dinner with Big Pharma and, in an amazing coincidence, the drug of one of those Big Pharma companies that attended the soiree with Andrew Little is now being pushed hard by Labour.

Drug company lobbyists were hosted?at a special dinner?by?Labour leader Andrew Little,?months before Labour announced its stance to override Pharmac and fund melanoma drug?Keytruda.

Labour confirmed the dinner?took place, understood to have been?in Labour?s parliamentary?offices, in September.

Organised by Pharma?lobbying group Medicines NZ, the dinner also?included representatives from Keytruda makers Merck Sharp and Dohme, Pfizer, Roche, Healthcare Logistics?and Sanofi.

Little said he recalled a dinner, but was unsure of the timing.

The Standard’s Greg Presland has blogged about this claiming it was a hit job from Jonathan Coleman’s office….but how can that be? ?

Coleman?wouldn’t have known about the meeting; only those attending would have known. So who leaked it? And who would have known? Who benefits from the leak?

Let’s look at who benefits at a superficial level. Obviously, National and Jonathan Coleman benefit from?the?revelations, but they weren’t in attendance so couldn’t have known about it. The drug companies don’t benefit because they like their lobbying to remain secret…so it’s very unlikely they would have leaked it. Moreover,the leak would be detrimental to the goal of getting Keytruda approved. Any shenanigans make that harder. That leaves an unknown party to the discussions.

Then we need to look at who knew about the meeting, the lobbying and dinner?

That is a much smaller list…Andrew Little and his team of Labour functionaries….the drug companies and their lobbyists and that’s about it. As already stated, the drug companies have no interest in having their machinations outed.

There is talk of disquiet in Labour’s caucus. They have made much of entertaining lobbyists over the years: who said what and who promised what, especially over tobacco. Much was made over a dinner that Jenny Shipley once hosted. So, Labour will have been nervous about such meetings…yet somehow we all know about it now.

So who leaked?

I don’t believe it was a drug company. Such a leak would be a disaster to their behind-the-scene political lobbying. Same goes for the lobbyists. That just leaves a disgruntled Labour person, who was either at the meeting and dinner or fully aware of the details.

It looks to me that Labour’s caucus has sprung leaks again…designed to further nobble their leader who is failing to fire. If I was a betting man I’d be looking at mates of Grant Robertson. The fact Labour apologists are trying to create a smoke screen suggests it is a Labour person who leaked, possibly a former leader with close personal links to the pharmaceutical industry and their PR people.

Andrew Little has problems. The leaks are back, and this one is particularly damaging.


– Fairfax