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PHARMAC asking: How do we get the best advice

29 November 2012
Media release
PHARMAC asking: How do we get the best advice for our medical devices work?

PHARMAC has released a consultation document seeking the views of clinicians. It asks how PHARMAC should make decisions on medical devices, when the agency takes over management of them in 2015.

The consultation closes in April 2013, to give the medical community plenty of time to give their input.

PHARMAC has been tasked with taking on national assessment, prioritisation and procurement of medical devices from 2015.

Chief Executive Steffan Crausaz says PHARMAC aims to build a process with expert advice from health professionals as one of its foundations.

“We recognise that without involving the people who actually use the devices in the funding process, that a national system just won’t be workable,” says Steffan Crausaz.

“There are many people working in hospitals who are involved in using devices – from the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals who use them, to the technicians who keep them working, and the hospital staff who manage them.

“We want to hear about the systems currently in place, what works well or what could be improved, and what things we need to think about as we go about building a national devices management system.”
Steffan Crausaz says that with full national procurement of devices still some years way, PHARMAC wants to make good use of the time it has to build a process that makes full use of the skills and knowledge that already exists in hospitals.

“We have an established process for assessing pharmaceuticals, but devices aren’t the same as pharmaceuticals,” he says. “We know that a one-size-fits all approach simply won’t work with devices, so we need to be adaptable and flexible.”

“We want to ensure that advice from these people is systematically embedded in our process. We want to find out what structures are already in place and that we could feed into, or what other ideas people have that could help us build a workable, sensible system for national devices management.”

PHARMAC is distributing its consultation on the clinical framework for devices management through hospitals and the medical colleges and societies, and seeking written feedback. In addition, PHARMAC is looking to meet with groups to discuss processes and feedback during the consultation period, which runs until 28 March 2013.


PHARMAC’s expanded work on managing medical devices is integral to projects being undertaken by Health Benefits Limited (HBL) to implement the Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain (FPSC) Business Case, developed by HBL alongside District Health Boards (DHBs). Work with the health sector on the wider FPSC is currently underway and consultation on business models and organisational design will begin in mid-2013.

Over the long term, PHARMAC is working to develop a catalogue of funded hospital medical devices, and also to establish the rules, policies and framework for assessing and procuring devices for the catalogue. In the short term, it will be undertaking some discrete procurement projects for which clinical input will be crucial.

Indicative timeline (subject to change as information becomes available).

31 August 2012: PHARMAC, HBL and the New Zealand health sector commenced work on specific national procurement initiatives. These initiatives will be rolled out between now and June 2015.
26 November 2012: PHARMAC begins clinical engagement to develop a framework for clinical input into our hospital devices activity.
30 September 2013: HBL completes the National Product Catalogue, a comprehensive list of hospital devices available in New Zealand.
31 December 2014: A single Financial Management Information System (FMIS) rollout will be completed. This FMIS will provide detailed information on what hospitals are purchasing nationwide.
30 June 2015: PHARMAC assumes management of most hospital devices
30 June 2017: PHARMAC begins management of hospital devices within a budget agreed with DHBs and the Minister of Health.


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