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Pharmac must look seriously at decision-making

Jackie Blue MP National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

20 December 2005

Pharmac must look seriously at decision-making

National's Associate Health spokeswoman, Jackie Blue, is pleased that negotiations between Pharmac and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca have resulted in Zoladex staying on the market.

"Pharmac's decision to play off two drug companies backfired," says Dr Blue.

"There was huge public outcry from patients, doctors, as well as prostate and breast cancer groups. Quite understandably, patients particularly were confused and upset.

"This whole sorry mess could have been avoided.

"It is clear to me that Pharmac has become too driven by dollar-and-cent savings - the human factor and the downstream effects of business decisions need to be considered.

"This might have been achieved if Pharmac's consumer committee had been involved, or if their generalist medical advisory committee, which supported the deal, had consumer representation.

"Another option was that the proposed deal could have been considered by their cancer specialist committee, which is made up of cancer specialists who work at the coalface and understand the impact of clinical decisions and any supporting international data.

"Of course, none of this happened and it is timely that Pharmac now looks at how it makes its business decisions, how it uses its committees, and how its committees are comprised," says Dr Blue.


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