Senior doctors and dentists are formally throwing their weight
behind growing calls for a formal independent health assessment of
the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
A recommendation about the TPPA was put to 134 public hospital
specialists at the Annual Conference of their union, the
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS), this
They voted overwhelmingly in favour of an independent health
assessment, to be based on the draft of the TPPA and carried out
prior to the TPPA being signed.
"This represents a decision by some of this country's most
experienced public hospital doctors and dentists to add their
voices to the tsunami of concern about the consequences for health
care in New Zealand if the TPPA is signed," says ASMS Executive
Director Ian Powell.
"The Government must listen to the many people speaking up from
within the health sector, the agencies and individuals who are on
the front line of health care and are concerned about the impact of
the TPPA on their patients.
"We have to be influenced by the past behaviours of the vested
corporate health businesses in the United States which are among
the most powerful players in the TPPA negotiations. Their intent is
to undermine New Zealand's health system, one of the best in the
world, where it gets in the way of their profits."
Yesterday, in response to a question, Health Minister Jonathan
Coleman said that Pharmac would continue under the TPPA. However,
Mr Powell says the real threat is that it could be emasculated.
The vote at the ASMS conference followed a presentation by
Canterbury psychiatrist Dr Erik Monasterio, who told delegates the
TPPA would put corporate interests to the fore.
"He urged his medical colleagues to start voicing their
concerns, and this was a real call to action for doctors and
The Conference also overwhelmingly in favour of the following
second resolution: 'That the ASMS opposes the TPPA on the grounds
that health care will suffer from the loss of national autonomy
that may result.