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PHARMAC Is Open And Transparent - Review

Independent Review Says PHARMAC Is Open And Transparent

An independent review into the way PHARMAC reviewed its Operating Policies and Procedures has found that the process was appropriate, open and transparent.

The review was carried out by Canadian Dr Joel Lexchin and Hon. David Caygill, and has been presented to the Minister of Health Annette King and the Health Funding Authority.

It followed PHARMAC’s own review of its OPPs. These govern how PHARMAC manages the list of pharmaceuticals that are subsidised, and sets out the criteria to make those decisions.

The report acknowledges that PHARMAC carries out a difficult and important role, managing a “necessarily limited budget” as well as facing pressure to increase spending on pharmaceuticals.

It says the complexity of the market means that PHARMAC needs to maintain a high degree of flexibility, and therefore the language used in the draft OPPs is appropriate.

The report also praises PHARMAC’s review process.

“We believe that the process that PHARMAC used to revise its OPPs was appropriate, open and transparent and allowed for all interested parties who chose to, to make their views known.”

PHARMAC Board Chairman Richard Waddel says PHARMAC welcomed the review and its findings were very pleasing.

“PHARMAC has always been committed to being open and transparent, and this validates this commitment. We were confident that the way we reviewed the OPPs was appropriate, and it is excellent an independent review has come to the same conclusion.”

He says it also pleasing that the reviewers highlighted the excellent work being carried out by PHARMAC in promoting responsible and efficient use of drugs.

Richard Waddel says the report also made some valid suggestions, and PHARMAC would take those on board. As a result, PHARMAC is going out this week to consult with the pharmaceutical and medical industries on further changes to the OPPs as recommended.

He says, as the report highlights, there can be tension between PHARMAC and the industry, due to the role that PHARMAC plays in getting the best value for New Zealanders. However, PHARMAC will continue to keep open lines of communication with the industry.

“Over the years the relationship has matured, and with some companies it is now on a much better footing. We are conscious that this is an area that we need to continue working on.”

The report also includes comment on aspects of PHARMAC that were not included in the terms of reference, he says. This includes PHARMAC’s exemption to the Commerce Act, which is currently under parliamentary review.

[ends]

For more information contact Richard Waddel.
Phone: (025) 429-212. or (021) 622249

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