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Calls for comment on advisory committee guidelines

Media release, 20 May 2008


PHARMAC calls for public comment on review of advisory committee guidelines


PHARMAC is reviewing the guidelines under which its main clinical advisory committee operates.

The Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) is a statutory committee that provides advice to the Government drug-funding agency.

PTAC provides recommendations to PHARMAC about pharmaceutical funding applications, and these recommendations form part of the process PHARMAC uses to decide which medicines are funded, and any conditions of use.

PTAC subcommittees provide more specialised advice on specific therapeutic areas, and the guidelines also cover the operation of those subcommittees.

PHARMAC’s Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says the PTAC Guidelines were last reviewed in 2002.

“It is good practice to undertake these reviews from time to time to ensure the Committee’s operations remain best practice. The desirability of review was reinforced in the Government’s medicines strategy, Medicines New Zealand, released late last year,” he says.

As part of the review, PHARMAC has identified proposed changes to the guidelines as a basis for discussion.

“We’re interested in feedback on our suggested changes, and any other amendments people think should be considered. PHARMAC has an open mind and we look forward to the views that people would like to share,” Dr Moodie says.

Proposed changes to the Guidelines include:

• renaming the Guidelines to be “terms of reference”;
• wording changes which emphasise PTAC’s ability to give objective, free and frank advice to PHARMAC;
• the potential to widen the scope of PTAC’s membership;
• publishing more of PTAC’s minutes on PHARMAC’s website, specifically to publish minutes relating to deferrals (not just fund or decline recommendations).

The process for appointing members to PTAC has been addressed in a separate review of the PTAC appointment protocol. This review, lead by the Ministry of Health, is ongoing.

Consultation on changes to the PTAC Guidelines closes on 13 June.


ENDS

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