ACT has welcomed the Government’s purchase of 60,000 courses of antiviral pill molnupiravir.

“It’s great to see that the Government has finally gone hard and early in embracing new technologies”, says ACT Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“This decision is critical to reducing hospitalisations and opening New Zealand up again.

“The Government has done the right thing by using PHARMAC and not MBIE to purchase this drug.

“PHARMAC should also be investigating Gilead’s remdesivir and an antiviral cocktail manufactured by Regeneron.

“This decision just goes to show what can be achieved when the Prime Minister leaves Wellington.

“The Government now needs to tell New Zealanders when the drugs will arrive in the country and what its approval process will be.

“We shouldn’t have to wait for Medsafe. It can take years for Medsafe to approve medicines already approved by the FDA or the TGA. When molnupiravir is approved by the FDA or the TGA in Australia, we should be free to use it. New Zealand should be first equal in the world.

“We can’t continue to lock down and spend billions fighting Covid-19.

ACT would:

1. Recognise that eradication no longer stacks up. We must move to a policy of harm minimisation. This policy should aim to reduce transmission, hospitalisation, and death from Covid-19 at the least possible cost of overall wellbeing.
2. Move from isolating whole cities to isolating only those who it makes sense to isolate. Personal isolation should be restricted to three groups: those who are medically vulnerable and require special protection, those who have recently arrived in New Zealand and are privately isolating, and those who have tested positive as part of widespread surveillance testing.
3. Move from chronic fear and uncertainty and get on a clear path to restoring freedom. We should settle when the vaccine rollout is ‘complete’ and aim to get Kiwis home for Christmas.
4. Move from a ‘government knows best’ approach to an approach of openness, and host all in ‘sprints’. In each sprint, the business community and all of society are invited to help reach clearly identified goals of lower transmission rates, hospitalisations and deaths, in time for reopening.
5. The entire tone of New Zealand’s Covid-19 response should shift from fear and a singular focus on public health to a focus on maximising overall wellbeing.

“We’re ready to open up to the world, get back to school, get back to business, regain our freedoms, and live our lives to our best potential.”

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