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'Told you so' re PHARMAC Herceptin decision

4 April 2008

'Told you so' re PHARMAC Herceptin decision

"The Herceptin decision reinforces views that clinical assessments regarding new medicines for subsidy should be separated from the commercial decisions about the potential price to be paid," the chairman of the Researched Medicines Industry Association (RMI), Dr Pippa MacKay said today.

"The RMI, along with a number of other stakeholders, clearly argued that these two functions should be separated during the development of Peter Dunne's medicine strategy. Yet, our views, and those of numerous other groups, were glibly passed aside," she said.

"The way PHARMAC processes are set up for assessment of medicines by medical are assessed by medical specialists in PHARMAC are, at best, obscured. Now we know, at worst, they appear to be influenced by purely commercial imperatives irrespective of the views of the clinicians involved.

"This is a landmark decision by the court and we urge the Government, the DHBs and PHARMAC to take careful note of its implications.

"PHARMAC has done an excellent job of rationing medicines in New Zealand, but this decision shows that the rationing processes are more about money than clinical effectiveness.

"We told you so in our submission. We are talking about the quality of life, not just for women with breast cancer, but for the myriad of people with diseases and conditions who are denied the medicines they would get as a matter of course if they lived in another developed country, like Australia," Dr MacKay commented.


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