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PHARMAC to fund HRT info to doctors/patients

PHARMAC to fund information to doctors, patients on HRT

Doctors and patients are to be given better access to information on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

PHARMAC is to pay for distribution of the evidence-based guideline, and a patient leaflet on HRT, which were developed by the New Zealand Guidelines Group, to doctors and patient groups. The guideline is also available on the New Zealand Guidelines Group website www.nzgg.org.nz.

Chief Executive Wayne McNee says the decision will give prescribers information that will allow them to make better-informed decisions, and follows PHARMAC’s consultation on placing restrictions or a guideline on HRT. No restrictions are to be put in place.

“The feedback we had in consultation was very much that doctors did not want to see restrictions on access to treatment,” Wayne McNee says. “This supported the view of the expert clinical advisory committee, PTAC.”

“However, we do think that doctors and women will benefit from having more information about best practice in relation to HRT, so we will be taking several steps to make information available.”

The steps PHARMAC is taking are:

publishing a prescribing guideline in the Pharmaceutical Schedule; paying for the distribution of the guideline to prescribers and interest groups; and paying for distribution of a NZGG-developed consumer resource to clinicians and patient interest groups (e.g. Family Planning Association, women's health groups).

The prescribing guideline to be published in the Pharmaceutical Schedule will read:

“HRT should be taken at the lowest dose for the shortest period of time necessary to control symptoms. Patients should be reviewed 6 monthly in line with the updated NZGG Evidence-based Best Practice Guideline on Hormone Replacement Therapy March 2004”

Wayne McNee says prescribing for HRT is continuing to decline, with a 30 percent fall in the 2003-04 financial year. This follows a 49 percent fall in the previous financial year.

Distribution of the resources will begin as soon as possible with the guideline to be published in the next edition of the Pharmaceutical Schedule Update.

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