“Health Minister Andrew Little needs to own up to comments he made about people seeking lifesaving drugs,” says ACT’s Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“I asked Mr Little whether he stood by his comments reported by Radio New Zealand that the group Patient Voice Aotearoa were using “extremist rhetoric.”

“Little denied to the Committee that he had ever said it. I have a video of him saying this in a press conference in the Beehive Theatrette.

“Mr Little went on to blame Radio New Zealand for misreporting his comments, when it’s clear he said them.

“He needs to own his words and come back to Select Committee and correct the record.

“Patient Voice Aotearoa speaks for people who are desperate for life-saving drugs. To attack them for trying to advocating on behalf of critically ill people is disgraceful.

“ACT was the first party to call for a review of PHARMAC, sadly when the review was announced, funding was left out.

“We need to look at the bigger picture. What is the cost of someone with Crohn’s Disease having multiple surgeries and hospital stays, not being able to work, having to claim ACC or welfare and the cost to them personally versus PHARMAC funding drugs that would keep them well.

“ACT continues to call for PHARMAC funding to be reviewed. It’s what’s fair and right for people who are suffering from chronic pain and diseases.

“It’s time to fix this systemic problem instead of having ill people cross their fingers and hope the best at budget time each year.”

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