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Appointment Process to PTAC to be More Transparent

THE Health Ministry today announced the process for appointing people to the Pharmacological and Therapeutic Advisory Committee (PTAC) will be changed to become more transparent.

"This change means anyone, including the public, can make a nomination," said the Director-General of Health, Karen Poutasi.

"Under current practice Pharmac seeks nominations for PTAC from about 12 relevant medical bodies, however there is a growing need for appointments to advisory groups to be more transparent. These changes will ensure this is the case in New Zealand."

The changes result from an indepartmental working group review of the appointments process. The working group was made up of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Pharmac, the Health Funding Authority and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"The working group developed recommendations last year and then consulted with representatives of medical organisations, the pharmaceutical industry, consumer groups and members of PTAC itself. They overwhelming agreed with the recommendations."

The recommendations were that the process be made more transparent through advertising vacant positions and allowing nominations to be made by any group. A job description and person specification will be drawn up for each vacancy.

"This is a good move. It is a big step towards greater accountability and better relationships in the pharmaceutical area," said Dr Poutasi.

The changes will come into effect immediately.

ENDS

Background information;

PTAC

PTAC is an independent body that was initially set up as a ministerial advisory committee with the role of advising the Minister of Health on the subsidy of pharmaceuticals. From 1993 PTAC became an advisory committee to Pharmac. It encompasses a wide range of expertise to provide advice and evaluation on medicines being considered for subsidy.

Currently appointments to PTAC are made following nominations from relevant professional organisations such as the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners. These nominations are reviewed by the Chairman of PTAC who makes a recommendation to the Pharmac board. The Board makes its decision on the basis of their standing in the medical community, their contribution to the collective understanding of PTAC, and with the expectation that the quality and integrity of advice given by PTAC to Pharmac will be enhanced? (Guidelines for the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Advisory Committee 1993 Section 6.2).


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