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Pharmac Secures Fresh Sources (New Zealand)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

AstraZeneca says it is "flabbergasted" by accusations from the New Zealand Government's drug-buying agency Pharmac that it is "gambling" with patients' lives. Pharmac medical director Peter Moodie made the comments about AstraZeneca following unresolved negotiations over the cardiovascular drug Betaloc. "Pharmaceutical suppliers must realize that when a patent runs out, other suppliers will enter the market and it is not acceptable to hold patients to ransom for commercial gain in such an unethical way," Dr Moodie said. "It is not acceptable for AstraZeneca to gamble with the lives of acutely ill patients in order to protect itself from competition." AstraZeneca New Zealand general manager Lance Gravatt said that the company was a tough negotiator but it still cared about patients. "When the country ran out of adrenaline in January this year, it was AstraZeneca that stepped in at short notice to supply the country and ensure that patients didn't suffer, Gravatt said. "So we do definitely care, but we're also tough negotiators." AstraZeneca had put several proposals to Pharmac over Betaloc, the latest being in late June. A three-year agreement was considered by AstraZeneca to be crucial to an agreement, but Pharmac did not want to be locked in, and had not even responded to the latest offer, Gravatt said. [Update: Pharmac has secured fresh supplies of the crucial heart medicine injection - in fact it now has two sources. Pharmac says Novartis has pulled out all the stops to source the product for New Zealand, and that AstraZeneca has now also agreed to continue supplying the injection.] Additional information for this story came from http://www.stuff.co.nz/4147500a11.htm (Click here for more

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