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PHARMAC seeking public views on new decision criteria

Media release

PHARMAC seeking public views on proposed new decision criteria

PHARMAC is asking for people’s views on a proposed new framework for making pharmaceutical funding decisions.

PHARMAC currently uses a set of nine criteria to guide the decisions it makes about pharmaceutical funding. With PHARMAC’s role expanding to include hospital medicines, vaccines and eventually hospital medical devices, the factors PHARMAC takes account of need reviewing.

Chief executive Steffan Crausaz says the proposed new decision-making framework is the result of a broad consultation held last year, in which PHARMAC asked for the community’s views on what PHARMAC should think about when making decisions.

Consultation ran for three months and included 12 community forums throughout New Zealand.

“When we analysed feedback from that process, it confirmed what people want us to think about. It also showed our process could be better explained and expanded to include some other factors,” says Steffan Crausaz. “In putting together this proposal, we have looked to reflect what people told us they want to see.”

“We are aiming to more clearly demonstrate what we should take into account when making funding decisions. We hope this will result in people better understanding our decisions.”

Steffan Crausaz says the proposed new format shows that PHARMAC looks at the impact of decisions across four aspects – need, suitability, benefits and costs. Each of those aspects is considered in relation to the patient, the treatment, and the health sector.

“For example, when we consider a treatment, we look at whether it has benefits for the patient and the sector, and whether it enables both DHBs and patients to reduce health and financial costs. These inter-related factors are assessed and enable PHARMAC to make well-informed decisions about which pharmaceuticals to progress for funding, and which order of preference to rank them in,” says Steffan Crausaz.

“We propose to show that all the decisions we make are aimed at achieving our legislative objective, which is to secure for eligible people in need of pharmaceuticals the best health outcomes that are reasonably achievable from pharmaceutical treatment and from within the amount of funding provided.”

He says that, in the consultation, PHARMAC responds to some of the common themes raised in the earlier consultation round and outlines that, in addition to the decision-making factors, PHARMAC’s proposal acknowledges wider health sector and Government goals such as the principles of the Medicines New Zealand Strategy.

Decisions made under PHARMAC’s expanded role in managing hospital medical devices would also be made using the proposed new factors for consideration.

Consultation on the draft decision-making framework closes at Easter.


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