big pharma

Hooton on Labour’s Keytruda advocacy

Matthew Hooton looks at Labour’s new-found advocacy for Big Pharma.

Labour?s health policy czar, Annette King, has a legendary and probably justified aversion to drug companies. Not for nothing has the industry earned a reputation similar to that of tobacco, armaments, fast food and Big Sugar.

As health minister, Ms King wouldn?t even meet the drug companies or the ?patient advocacy groups? they fund. She judged ? again, probably correctly ? that such meetings were cynical lobbying efforts to increase government spending on their particular products.

With the exception of a multiple sclerosis drug early in her term as minister, Ms King, whose medical background is as a school dental nurse, made a commitment she would not substitute her own clinical judgment for that of the experts at the government?s drug-buying agency, Pharmac.

Perhaps only Finance Mminister Bill English, another former health minister, has been as staunch an advocate for Pharmac as Ms King and for good reason: There is no doubt the agency and the model under which it operates save the taxpayer and economy a bundle that is reinvested in other health services.

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Kevin Hague slips a knife between Labour’s ribs

The Greens and Kevin Hague have seen an opportunity and taken it, slipping a knife into Andrew Little’s ribs in the wake of revelations Labour has been entertaining (and now lobbying for) Big Pharma.

And he is smart enough to issue an apology for some intemperate language before plunging the knife deeper.

Yesterday, melanoma sufferers and their supporters delivered a petition signed by over 11,000 people to Parliament, calling for funding for immunotherapy drug Keytruda.

Mr Hague said he was wrong and insensitive to suggest the sufferers were pawns.

“I don’t regard those people who came to Parliament yesterday as pawns. If I was in their position, I would have done the same thing,” he said.

“In fact, I’ve been on all sides of this issue. When I was the director of the AIDS Foundation, I was frequently in the position of advocating for medicines that Pharmac didn’t currently fund and were above Pharmac’s threshold.” ? Read more »

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? ? Read more »

Is Andrew Little working for Big Pharma in pushing just one specific drug?

Labour Leader Little Andrew

Labour Leader: St Andrew Little, defender of the melanomics

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.

Here we go, the back paddling.?? This sounds one hundred times more dodgy than a glass of milk on the way to the airport. Read more »