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Report on Pharmac must be taken seriously

Report on Pharmac must be taken seriously

National’s Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison, says the Castalia report on New Zealand pharmaceutical policies demonstrates that New Zealanders are not getting optimal access to a choice of drugs.

The report was commissioned by Pfizer New Zealand and prepared by Alex Sundakov for the Castalia Advisory Group.

“In my view the report makes a convincing case that New Zealand’s present policies need an independent review, not the type of inside job that Labour is carrying out,” says Dr Hutchison.

“Pharmac has done a good job in keeping the overall drug bill down, but their cost-cutting measures could result in patients requiring more expensive medicines, or even surgical treatment, later on. That is false economy.

“Alex Sundakov estimates that the extra costs resulting from Pharmac’s policies run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

“There are many variables to analyse, but the report claims that a disparity in access to mental health drugs between Australia and New Zealand may result in worse outcomes here, because of lack of access to modern drugs – this is worthy of investigation.

“Pharmac has made some very inappropriate decisions with regard to sole supply contracting, on pain relief for the terminally ill, on the flu vaccine and more recently on asthma inhalers.

“The Sundakov report is an important reminder that an independent review of Pharmac is necessary, and National is committed to that,” says Dr Hutchison.


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