News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Promoting competition key for high cost medicines

Media release

Promoting competition key to improving patients’ access to high cost medicines

PHARMAC has announced its intention to test out a contestable fund for high cost medicines for rare disorders, which could be seeking proposals from pharmaceutical companies by the end of 2014.

Promoting competition among suppliers could be the key to improving patients’ access to high cost medicines for rare disorders, says chief executive Steffan Crausaz.

The fund is a response to concerns about access to these medicines that PHARMAC has been hearing from patients through forums and consultations in recent months.

“We’ve listened closely to these views, and thought about them carefully. Our thinking leads us to the view that the core problem is a lack of competition,” says Steffan Crausaz.

“We know competition leads to lower prices, and that’s an area where PHARMAC has an established track record. Our activities in promoting competition enable New Zealand to achieve some of the lowest prices for medicines in the world.”

“We think that by promoting competition among suppliers, prices will reduce and as a result, patients will get funded access to them. Ultimately, that’s what this fund is about.”

“Pharmaceutical suppliers tell us one of their main motivators is providing patients with access to their products. That’s something we certainly want to see, and I hope the industry takes this opportunity to help us find a way to make these medicines more available to patients.”

Steffan Crausaz says the new approach is possible within PHARMAC’s current operating framework, and would still involve PHARMAC seeking to get the best health outcomes for patients from the available funding for pharmaceuticals.

“PHARMAC will continue to look for the best health outcomes for patients, and the best value investments. The approach we intend to use will be consistent with the PHARMAC model and, importantly, will still enable us to continue to fund other new medicines for conditions that aren’t rare.”

PHARMAC has published a discussion paper on its website and is inviting comments from the public and industry on the contestable fund. These comments would help iron out some of the detail of how the fund would operate.

Steffan Crausaz says up to $5 million per year may be available, through funding that has already been budgeted but not likely to be used for the $8 million exceptions policy. Because this funding is already budgeted, it won't limit PHARMAC's ability to fund other treatments for less rare conditions.

Should PHARMAC request commercial proposals by the end of 2014, funding could begin in early 2015. The discussion document can be found on our


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Arts Festival: An Evening With Richard Dawkins

In a special one-off, New Zealand event at the Michael Fowler Centre, Dawkins will reflect on his eminent career as a scientist, and expand on the themes of inspiration, influence and ideas in his recent memoir, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news