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Pharmac urgently in need of reform

Dr Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

25 June 2006

Pharmac urgently in need of reform

Pharmac's culture and way of doing business urgently needs reform, says National's Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue.

Dr Blue is commenting on concerns from two of the country's top cardiologists, Chris Ellis and Harvey White, in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal. They criticise Pharmac's high-handed business methods, which have impeded access by patients to modern medicines.

"Pharmac's aggressive business practices over the last 10 years have seen major pharmaceutical companies downsize or exit completely. They have said they are sick of working in a hostile and adversarial culture.

"I had high hopes that Peter Dunne's medicines review would address these issues, but he seems very coy about committing to this.

"Consequently I remain very worried that the review will end up only skirting around the edges and not address fundamental problems.

"Pharmac's 2005/6 annual plan talks about a stakeholders strategy and from an answer to a written select committee question it seems that its goal is to ‘establish a culture of listening and responding within Pharmac’.

“That indicates there isn’t such a culture there now.

"But with less than a week to go to implement this strategy and nothing to show for it, this seems to have been just nice words tacked onto the annual report without any substance.

"Mr Dunne remains adamant that the medicines review will not involve a public forum where ordinary New Zealanders can present oral submissions. He has previously stated that he did not want a ‘wailing wall'.

"All of this doesn't leave me with much confidence that New Zealanders will see major changes,” says Dr Blue.

ENDS

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