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Transcript of interview with the Hon Peter Dutton MP  21 June 2011
PETER DUTTON: The Government today has said to Australian patients, about 400 of them, that they are going to have pay $1500 a week between now and the first of September when Erbitux is listed.
Now this is a Government that has sat on the listing of Erbitux, despite the recommendations and patients have been taking credit cards out to pay for the weekly bill just so that they can stay alive.
And yet, now we find out that there’s going to be further delay and that this Government will, I think, pressure those who can afford it at least into paying $1500 a week.
And that is a disgrace from this Government that has wasted billions of dollars on pink batts and school halls and now the carbon tax folly and I don’t think Australian patients believe that this is a Government that’s given them a fair deal at all.
JOURNALIST: Mr Dutton what’s the Coalition’s policy on funding medicines, would you fund every medicine that the PBAC recommended?
PETER DUTTON: We would revert back to what was a particularly successful scheme, and what the Government had inherited from us, was a scheme where if the PBAC had made a recommendation, subject to the cost involved, it would listed.
Now this Government has listed a couple of those drugs today that have been held in abeyance for months and they’ve got this ad hoc process where now every decision is a political one.
You are going to see more lobbying by drug companies to get drugs listed.
The Government should revert back to the original policy. That is what we will do after the next election and that brings back some efficacy into the system.
It gives some certainty to companies who want to know whether or not the process is legitimate and this is a Government honestly which is all over the shop on every issue and health is just one.
JOURNALIST:  They say they need money to help pay for these drugs and that you are blocking savings by rejecting a means test on the private health insurance rebate.
Why do you think that very rich people, including millionaires, deserve a 30 percent rebate on the cost of their private health insurance from the taxpayer?
PETER DUTTON: Sue, the Government so far has said that the savings in the private health insurance changes will pay for the e-health program of the Government, that was from the Health Minister.
The Treasurer said that the savings from the private health insurance were going to pay for the increase in the age pension payments.
The Minister has now said that this magic bowl of savings is now going to pay for the PBS drugs.
Look it’s all a furphy.
This is a Government that is intent on attacking private health insurance and the provision of private health wherever they can.
But the important thing to remember is that the decision today is going to result in 400 patients paying $1500 a week, out of their own pocket, between now and the first of September.
This is a Government that is completely out of control and to completely ignore the recommendations of the independent PBAC and not list drugs that have been deemed to be worthy of listing is a complete disgrace.
And that’s why I think Nicola Roxon in this latest back flip I think really should be condemned for the fraud that this Minister is.
JOURNALIST: Are patients’ lives being put at risk because of the delays to listing these drugs?
PETER DUTTON: We know that there was patient on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland who lost his life recently because Erbitux had been delayed.
And there are potentially more patients who will die between now and September.
This is a Government that has sat on the decision, that has delayed the listing, that has caused pain on families and sufferers of this cancer and by not listing Erbitux until the first of September not only are they driving up the cost for patients, $1500 a week I might say, they also risk losing more lives.
And this is a Government that just should listen to the independent advice from the PBAC and list the drugs in accordance with what was a very, very good model.  
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