Annette King, Jane Kelsey, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all have denounced what, they say, “the TPP will mean with regards to life-saving drug costs.” It’s unfair, they say, that drug companies should have even the five years recognised by the TPP to make the most from selling the many future life-saving drugs that wouldn’t have existed without them.
Is it not too much to recognise where all these life-saving drugs actually come from that everyone takes so much for granted?
And to acknowledge that we in NZ are, to be blunt, mooching on the people who develop and pay for them.
As Jason Potts says of similar folk in Australia, Don't Complain About TPP Pharmaceuticals, We Already Free Ride Off US Consumers:
These folk present themselves as fighting for the public health care system by holding firm in an intellectual property battle against big greedy US pharmaceutical companies who want provisions that will cost sick Australians [and NZers] hundreds of millions of dollars. The media optics are clear about who is on the side of good and who is on the side of evil in this fight.
But biologics are extraordinarily expensive, difficult and risky to make. All the huge costs are upfront, with very small marginal costs. The spectacular economics of a few blockbuster drugs need to be set against the enormous costs, and often losses, of the many stages of testing and developing safe and effective new biologics.
So who pays for this?
The reality is that the US healthcare consumer pays for most of this - this is why the US spends a much larger fraction of its GDP per capita on healthcare (about 17.4 percent) than Australia (about 9.8 percent) [and NZ (about 8.7 percent).
Let me put that more starkly – Australian healthcare consumers are free-riding on US healthcare consumers. Sick people in the US are paying more so that sick people in Australia can pay less. That's the issue here. This is about fairness and Australia doing its part to pay its share of the cost of developing life-saving drugs that benefit everyone in the world.
Let’s put it more starkly for NZ readers: Spending on healthcare in New Zealand is the second lowest per person among a group of developed countries. New Zealand healthcare consumers are free-riding on US healthcare consumers and producers. Sick people in the US are paying more so that sick people in New Zealand can pay less. That's the issue here.
Is it fair that the folk paying for and producing life-saving drugs are given so little recognition, either legally.morally or financially?