Big pharmaceutical companies on the offensive over PHARMAC

Joseph Damond, a senior vice-president of the Washington-based Biotechnology Industry Organisation, was in Wellington last month to convince Trade Minister Groser and the New Zealand negotiators to throw PHARMAC to the wind in the TPPA. Damond struggled to convince us that PHARMAC — which ensures New Zealand pays a lot less for medicines — is somehow bad for us. What he means is that PHARMAC’s bad for the profits of giant pharmaceutical companies. The IP team from the US Trade Representative’s office will be pushing the same line in NZ next week. Health and IT groups have asked to meet with them, as the Malaysian’s HIV-AIDS groups did there.