26 Oct 2014

Concern over medicine price increases

3:33 pm on 26 October 2014

Doctors in Australia are calling for assurances the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will not push up the price of medicines.

Tim Groser.

Tim Groser. Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

The ABC reports Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb is hosting talks on the trade deal with 11 counterparts in Sydney - including New Zealand's Tim Groser.

Mr Groser said medicines would not be made more expensive if New Zealand signs up to the TPP agreement.

The TPP involves 12 countries including the United States, Japan and Australia representing 40 percent of all world trade, and would be the biggest trade agreement ever signed.

But Mr Groser said last week that despite the size of the prize, New Zealand's ability to source cheap drugs through Pharmac would not be negotiated away.

See more here

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  • The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is worried the TPP could be used to erode price constraints on medicine; laws controlling food labelling, tobacco and alcohol promotion; as well as the operation of public hospitals and the regulation of environmental hazards.

    AMA president Brian Owler said the Government should be more open, particularly about the potential for a lift in drug prices.

    "While there's been some discussion that won't be the case, obviously we don't want to see any trade-offs that might adversely affect the prices and availability of medications for Australian patients," Professor Owler said.

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    The Australian Health Department said there were about 20 case workers trained to care for potential Ebola patients.

    But Professor Owler said neither his group, nor the nation's chief health officer, knew who these doctors and nurses were, nor what training they had.

    He said medical professionals wanted a coherent plan for dealing with any Ebola cases in Australia.

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