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


CFC-Free medicine well on track

media statement from Pharmac

With one in ten New Zealanders suffering from asthma, and respiratory medicine costing $90 million a year, Pharmac says it is well aware of the complex issues around asthma treatment, including the transition to CFC free inhalers.

General Manager Wayne McNee says already 27 CFC-free asthma inhalers are fully subsidised. The first one was subsidised more than three years ago, and in some asthma drug subgroups almost all the choices are CFC-free.

And PHARMAC makes it clear that it looks favourably at CFC-free products when deciding which products get subsidies.

This is well within international guidelines.

"In some subgroups it is true that there are no CFC-free products, but we are waiting for the manufacturers to produce them," he says.

"The scare-story about asthma inhalers recently sent to the media appears to be a cynical attempt by a drug company to put pressure on PHARMAC to subsidise its product."

The public relations company for a drug company put out a media statement yesterday which purported to be unsolicited scientific opinion. There was no identifying logo on the statement and no indication that it was related to a drug company.

"The fact that the company is currently trying to sell us its products was not in the media release, nor was the fact that many CFC-free treatments already are subsidised."

NIWA's CEO Paul Hargreaves has concerns about the way the conclusions were reported in the media.

"The reports missed a vital point from information supplied by Niwa. In the historical data, metered dose asthma inhaler use in New Zealand is not separate from all aerosol sprays, so that with the conservative assumption that use has not changed in 12 years, Niwa estimates that about one percent of the New Zealand contribution in 1986, the year of the Montreal Protocol, came from MDI use," he says.

A huge reduction in the total tonnage of Ozone Depletion Potentials has come about since then by the removal of the major uses of CFCs and Halons in aerosol sprays, refrigeration, foam plastic, fire protection and as solvents.

He says Niwa's point is that although 63 percent of the contribution made by New Zealand to the global depletion of the ozone layer is now made up by CFC asthma medicines, the actual total amount of ozone depleting substances from New Zealand is only about two percent of what it was in 1986.

Paul Hargreaves says he is disappointed these important qualifications were omitted from media reports.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland