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More research into impact of dispensing

31 May 2005

PHARMAC welcomes call for more research into impact of dispensing

PHARMAC is welcoming the recommendation of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) to commission research looking at the impact of dispensing rates on medicine usage.

The OAG report into the implementation of all-at-once dispensing in 2003 points out the relationship between the way people use their medicine, and the frequency of dispensing is not well researched.

PHARMAC Chief Executive Wayne McNee says the report also finds that the policy change does achieve savings for DHBs, and these will continue to be realised as long as the current contractual arrangements between DHBs and pharmacists are in place.

“The OAG report agrees with PHARMAC that considerable savings will be made from the return to all-at-once dispensing, and that the assumptions used to calculate these figures, and the steps taken to implement the change, were reasonable,” Wayne McNee says.

The question about the relationship between dispensing frequency and medicine usage is one that PHARMAC would be interested in knowing the answer to.

“At the time we consulted on the change back to all-at-once dispensing, we did receive feedback that people could be more likely to take their medicine if they received it all at once. These people felt making repeated trips to the pharmacy was a barrier to taking their medicine,” Wayne McNee adds.

“PHARMAC has a legislated role to ensure medicines are used responsibly, and of course this includes implementing policies that encourage people to take the medicine that is prescribed for them. We agree with the Auditor General that this is an area where more research could be undertaken.”

The OAG report also recommended that the Ministry of Health lead a discussion with agencies such as DHBs, PHARMAC, ACC and local councils about who is responsible for monitoring and disposing of unused medicines.

Wayne McNee says he is pleased that the OAG has overall produced a positive review of the return to all-at-once dispensing.

ENDS

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