I am really worried that US drug companies may be as successful as Warner Bros for getting huge concessions from the New Zealand Government. The pharmaceutical industry is under huge pressure at the moment due the increasing difficulty and cost of developing of new drugs. To continue making high profits they must broaden the markets for the drugs they have and increase the prices for consumers. Pfizer, for example, has plans to lay off 10% of their staff and cut 2 billion dollars from their expenditure and other companies are facing similar pressures.
Pharmac has been hugely effective in keeping down the costs of prescription drugs and despite the occasional controversial exclusion, such as the hugely expensive drug Herceptin, it is generally perceived as one of the most successful pharmaceutical gate keepers in the world (contributing to huge frustration for drug companies).
New Zealand is currently involved in trade negotiations related to the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement or TPP and, as with any trade agreement, each country wants to protect their own industries with favourable terms. There has been an attempt by representatives of the US pharmaceutical industry to infiltrate Pharmac to gain wider access for their products and to increase Pharmac's budget. The claims that there are many New Zealanders suffering through drug restrictions and that our health system is costing more than it should because of ineffective drug regimes are largely emotive arguments to sway public perceptions.
We need our government to stand strong against these multinational companies and protect our interests against the sort of exploitation that exists elsewhere. United States citizens pay huge amounts of money for cheaply produced, common prescriptions and many become impoverished due to extended medication needs. If you read the last link you will discover that what we have in Pharmac is what US citizens dream about, we don't want to lose it!
Gareth Morgan puts his weight and commonsense behind Pharmac, too.