In the wake of the Dark Money report, Martin Whitely, a former Labor MP and Executive Director of the Health Consumers Council, got in touch to explore whether political donations could be behind an extraordinary anomaly in our health system.
Martin pointed to a Grattan Institute report which found that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (the program that purchases our drugs and provides them to us at subsidised prices) is paying up to six times as much for the drugs as the Kiwi govt across the ditch. They also pay more than many other state government bodies who also bulk buy drugs.
In the wake of all the noise we have heard about ballooning health costs, it is extraordinary that one of the most expensive items in the federal budget is being allowed to balloon out like this. If we are facing a health funding crisis, why are we cutting nurses rather than cutting the fat we are paying the big pharmaceutical corporates?
Is dark money to blame? Don’t know yet – but it certainly a fascinating issue that we will be looking into.