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Ed Sheeran

Options are sought as Pharmac fails Māori

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The New Zealand Māori Council is looking at what it would take to negotiate better deals for drugs if Pharmac isn't willing to do the job.

Executive director Matthew Tukaki says the council started looking at the issue because of the plight of of wāhine with advanced breast cancer, and soon realised there is a wide range of other cancers and conditions where the latest available drugs or medical technology is not available.

The fact the government drug buying agency has a list of 100 drugs waiting to be scheduled, some for nearly a decade, shows the system is no longer fit for purpose.

He says the WAI 2575 Claim on access to healthcare could open the door to identifying and consolidating demand, which could form the basis for negotiating with pharmaceutical companies.

"How much of a quantity per drug are we talking about and therefore what sort of price can we negotiate, so it's kind of like negotiating, I know this sounds crazy, it's sort of like negotiating with your crown partner for a settlement or whatever, so how can we take that model and look at direct negotiations with those pharmaceutical companies," Mr Tukaki says.

He says any gains for Māori could also flow on to Pasifika patients if the right structures were in place.

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