Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


PHARMAC’s “hardball” approach a money saver

6 March 2014

PHARMAC’s “hardball” approach a money saver

The tough bargaining stance of PHARMAC, New Zealand’s drug purchasing agency, has reduced costs to the taxpayer, but not without consequences, a recent Victoria University of Wellington study concludes.

Professor Kevin Dew from the School of Social and Cultural Studies and summer scholarship student Amy Davis set out to understand how PHARMAC came into being at the height of neoliberal reforms in the health sector in New Zealand.

“Like a lot of people, I assumed PHARMAC was the bad guy because it restricts people’s access to drugs,” says Professor Dew. “But it intrigued me that this agency got established in 1993 at a time when New Zealand was trying to push the barriers of free market principles in healthcare.”

PHARMAC manages the list of prescription pharmaceutical products that are subsidised by the state. By choosing just one drug per therapeutic group to fully subsidise it is able to negotiate with drug companies for the best deal.

Professor Dew says PHARMAC’s “hardball” approach has kept New Zealand’s pharmaceuticals budget in check and also regulated the population’s desire to have any available pill for any ill.

“Although New Zealand’s drug use has ballooned since the 1940s, when the government first subsidised pharmaceutical costs, and pharmaceutical costs are always rising, they’re not rising nearly as quickly as other countries,” he says.

“Nevertheless, there are certain costs that come with that one of them being that New Zealand tends not to get new drugs that are subsidised as quickly as other countries.”

However, he adds, this can sometimes be positive. “You get some new drugs that last a few years, then get withdrawn as a result of adverse reactions, whereas PHARMAC processes provide better insurance that the most reputable drugs are subsidised.”

Although Professor Dew believes PHARMAC is working well in general, he would like to see aspects of the agency undergo critical evaluation.

“There’s no perfect system—you’re dealing with a system of rationing and somebody’s going to miss out. But there are people out there who are struggling to get access to certain drugs, especially for rarer conditions. I’d like to see more public input into the formulas PHARMAC uses to make its decisions.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: “Salute” By Royal New Zealand Ballet In Wellington

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performed “Salute” for a final time in Wellington on Sunday night, and it was nothing short of spectacular. More>>

ALSO:

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news