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PHARMAC Takes On Board Oral Contraceptive Advice

PHARMAC Takes On Board Advice On Oral Contraceptives

PHARMAC has listened to various submissions, including one from the Family Planning Association, and has dropped plans to tender all oral contraceptives.

Although the proposal would have saved the pharmaceutical budget several million dollars a year, PHARMAC has announced it will not go ahead with it at this time. This is based on the concern that it may confuse women if they have to change brands.

As part of an ongoing initiative by PHARMAC to reduce the price of generic drugs, companies are given the opportunity to tender for certain medicines. The company that wins the tender then has a guaranteed larger market for their sales, and in return can offer a lower price.

This is PHARMAC’s biggest tender round yet, and it had included proposals on a number of oral contraceptives in a bid to get the best possible price for the taxpayer. All proposed tenders are consulted on extensively with the medical profession and drug industry, and concerns were raised in this process.

Based on this just two contraceptives have been left in the tender round. These are Depo-Provera, which is an injection, and Diane-35. Companies will get the opportunity to be the sole supplier of these chemicals by tendering for the lower price. They would still be available, but may have a different brand name with different packaging.

PHARMAC Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says the decision highlighted the importance of consultation, and showed how PHARMAC is willing to listen.

“This is the exact reason that we go out to the sector and other interested parties to get their views on proposals. They raise valid points and then it is our job to then balance those views in making a final decision on whether it should go ahead or not.”

Dr Moodie says it is also important to stress that any woman who is currently on one of the two brands to remain in the tender process that they will still have receive the same chemical fully funded .

He says savings made from tendering are spent on other health needs and funding of other needed pharmaceuticals.

[ends]

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