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 “You get some new drugs that last a few years, then get withdrawn as a result of adverse reactions, whereas PHARMAC processes provide better insurance that the most reputable drugs are subsidised.”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

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news