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


Medicines Strategy promising but problematic

MEDIA RELEASE: December 13, 2006

Medicines Strategy promising but problematic, says ATM

The Government’s new draft Medicines Strategy document is being welcomed by the Access To Medicines (ATM) Coalition, but there are concerns that the overall strategy could be undermined by inadequate direction given to key decision makers – like PHARMAC and district health boards.

ATM says that leaving PHARMAC to its own devices in conducting a separate review of high-cost therapies is one of the more problematic elements of the document.

“Their brief and their focus has always been too narrow,” says ATM spokesman Eamonn Smythe. “We’re concerned the review will be conducted with a narrow budget management mind-set unless there are clear directions to PHARMAC to follow the wider principles-based approach the rest of the strategy encourages.”

While the strategy gives broad support to a more principles-based approach to medicine funding, ATM notes that when DHBs and PHARMAC give their advice to the Minister on the annual budget for pharmaceuticals, “value for money” and “affordability” are the only principles listed for consideration.

“Why are ethics and community values excluded?” asks Eamonn Smythe. “This is a seriously inadequate approach to setting the PHARMAC budget, and would indicate no significant change to the present system unless other principles are also factored in – like the DHBs current objectives of reducing health outcome disparities, involving communities in the decision making process, and upholding ethical and other standards.”

ATM says that, otherwise, the draft Medicines Strategy is a promising beginning, and it looks forward to continuing its involvement in the public consultation process over the next few months.

“We’re particularly pleased that ‘equity’ has been stated as a key principle in the strategy,” says Eamonn Smythe. “This introduces ethics into the decision-making process, something ATM has argued for as it is conspicuously absent from present criteria. Until now it has been almost entirely about budget management.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Stage: Wellington’s Theatre Awards To Go Ahead

The Wellington Theatre Awards will go ahead despite a devastating year for New Zealand’s creative sector. Wellington Theatre Awards Trust Chair Tom Broadmore said, “the creative sector, and Wellington’s vibrant theatre sector has been gutted by the ... More>>

Journalism: An Icon Returns. New-Look North & South Magazine Hits Shelves

One of New Zealand’s most iconic magazines, North & South, is back on the shelves this week – with new independent ownership. The magazine, which has set the benchmark for investigative journalism in New Zealand since 1986, relaunches this week, ensuring ... More>>

Howard Davis: Three New Art Books for Xmas

Massey University and Te Papa Presses have published three new art books just in time for Xmas: Dick Frizzell's Me, According to the History of Art, Railways Studios, celebrating unique examples of government-sponsored advertising and design, and Nature - Stilled, Jane Ussher's extraordinary photographs of flora and fauna from the museum's natural history collections.

Howard Davis: Inside The King's Head - Girl in the Loft at BATS

Katherine Wyeth weaves together a dramatic tapestry of memory, identity, and legacy, exploring what it was like to grow up in the second oldest operating pub theatre in the UK. More>>

Howard Davis: Fiddling While America Burns - Wellington's T-Bone Cut A Rug

Just a few days prior to the most significant US Presidential elections in decades, local denizens of Lower Hutt's Moera Hall were treated to a broad canvas of musical styles, including tinges of bluegrass, old-time, country, cajun, and zydeco influences. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Rises From The Ashes (& Chris O'Connor Talks)

Simultaneously dreamy and structured, understated and subtle, spacious and hypnotic, The Phoenix Foundation's new album Lifeline includes gorgeous vocal harmonies, lilting lyrics with no lack of wry, self-deprecating humour, and gently weeping guitar parts. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland