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A very small step on a very long journey


14 December 2007


A very small step on a very long journey


“While we support Peter Dunne’s genuine efforts and ongoing commitment to develop a New Zealand medicines strategy we are disappointed with Government’s meagre response and apparent reluctance to seize the opportunity to invest in new innovative medicines,” Dr Pippa MacKay, the Chairman of the Researched Medicines Industry Association (RMI) said.

“The pharmaceutical industry is pleased that after many years of inertia and denial the need for reform is now recognised and has been placed on the Government’s agenda.  We are hopeful that those and further reforms will be developed in the near future to build on the action plan announced today.

“We strongly support measures to improve the optimal use of existing medicines and this is a welcome focus of the adopted strategy.  However it is new innovative medicines that offer a real opportunity to improve efficacy, reduce adverse reactions, curtail waste and improve health outcomes generally.

“Regrettably this strategy pays inadequate attention to the severe funding constraint that is driven by a cost cutting fixation inherent within the PHARMAC procurement model.  This model fails to recognise that better more modern medicines are part and parcel of investing to improve health outcomes.

“The planned additional transparency for PHARMAC’s assessment and approvals process is also welcomed, although it does not go anywhere near the much-hoped-for full separation of clinical and funding decisions.  We also believe some of the performance measures set out in the strategy are lightweight, and too loose.

“The harsh reality is that New Zealand has not been investing in new innovative medicines to the same extent as other OECD countries.  Sadly this initiative not only fails to address the short falls of the past but in PHARMAC’s own words the current budget has limited scope for new investments and new innovative medicines.  Over the past ten years our expenditure on pharmaceutical products has reduced, after adjustment for inflation, in spite of increased demands created by a larger and ageing population together with expanding technological capacities.  We are spreading less more thinly.







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