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Ed Sheeran

Vote forced on Pharmac inquiry

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A split vote on parliament's health select committee means an inquiry into drug buying agency Pharmac won't go ahead.

National's Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse presented a motion this morning for the committee to hold an inquiry into the drug-buying agency, after lobbying from women with advanced breast cancer who are paying thousands of dollars each month to pay for new generation drugs.

Mr Woodhouse said an inquiry was needed into the level of funding, the transparency of Pharmac's decision-making and the time it takes to make decisions.

The four Government members on the committee voted against the motion.

Malcolm Mulholland, whose wife Wiki is one of the cancer metavivors seeking the funding, says he was deeply saddened by the decision which would mean women with advanced cancer will die sooner than they would if they had access to the medicine.

Health Minister David Clark says he has asked Pharmac to look at the transparency and timeliness of its processes, but he doesn't support politicians interfering in its decisions.



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