PHARMAC response to UMR survey misleading
February 21, 2006
PHARMAC response to UMR Doctor survey statistically misleading
PHARMAC’s response to the UMR survey released today by Pfizer is statistically misleading, and yet again fails to adequately address concerns raised about its performance and access to medicines, Mark Crotty said.
PHARMAC has conveniently added up two percentages to come up with a supposedly ‘positive’ performance rating from the 529 doctors and specialists who took part in the questionnaire.
In actual fact, using PHARMAC’s method of calculation the survey shows that 73% rate PHARMAC’s performance as average, to below average, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of the way in which it operates.
What PHARMAC’s response failed to tell the public is that fewer than half of doctors (44%) thought PHARMAC’s performance was simply average, and 29% rated it as below average. Only a quarter rated it as above average.
It’s true that PHARMAC scored well in its management of the pharmaceutical budget, but why is PHARMAC proud of this?? PHARMAC under spent its budget in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Conveniently, in election year in 2005 it only under spent by less than $1 million.
Under spending its budget means New Zealanders have been denied access to medicines that they could have otherwise received. It is unfathomable that PHARMAC could argue that this is a positive view of its performance.
To say that a survey with a response rate of 35% is not statistically compelling, is rubbish. Political opinion polls often have a sample size of 750-1000 people when polling the views of a population of around 4 million.
Pfizer challenges PHARMAC to stop hiding behind its public relations machine and start listening and responding to the views of patients and doctors.