Drug
deals
By Stuff Circuit
Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars in secret money washes back and forth in a multi-million dollar drug market
And it's
all
legal
Last year in New Zealand, it was worth
$400 million
The amount is growing
and growing
The payments from pharmaceutical companies are called:

REBATES
A practice Big Pharma uses globally to disguise the real price of medicines
Watch how it works and see why Big Pharma has all the
control
Not only is the total amount of rebates increasing, they've also grown steeply as a proportion of what Pharmac spends
Why?
Lisa Williams, Pharmac: 'As we buy more new medicines, often times it's the newer medicines that have rebates attached to them.'
But why is that? And why the confidentiality? Watch this video to see what the drug companies' representative says
There are some ways that agencies like Pharmac can get back some power
Including talking to each other without disclosing the confidential parts of the deals
Pharmac also makes public what drugs contracts have rebate clauses
Lisa Williams, Pharmac: 'So internationally, other markets can look at our list and see which products have rebates and which don't.'
And there's something else: Pharmac has the power to walk away
Lisa Williams, Pharmac: 'The key element that Pharmac has in terms of rebalancing the power is that we have a fixed budget, so we can say no, that we're not going to invest in the medicine, and that incentivises them to offer us better prices.'
But academics who study pharmaceutical pricing remain worried about the confidential process. In this paper...
Editorial: Can price transparency contribute to more affordable patient access to medicines?
Sabine Vogler, of the Austrian Public Health Institute, and Kenneth Paterson of the University of Glasgow
argue countries like New Zealand are in a
'Prisoner's Dilemma'
If they all band together and fight the confidentiality of prices, it could ultimately benefit everyone
but it may well bring short-term disadvantage to some
Words by Eugene Bingham and Paula Penfold. Visuals by Toby Longbottom and Phil Johnson. Interactive design by Suyeon Son.
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