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Pharmac must have watertight processes

10 September 2012

Pharmac must have watertight processes

Pharmac will have to have a watertight process around product quality assurance and product recall processes if it is to have a monopoly on purchasing medical devices, says Labour’s Health spokesperson, Maryan Street.

"If the botched process for supplying blood glucose meters for New Zealand's 120,000 diabetics is anything to go by, there is real cause for concern.

"Moving to a sole supplier of blood glucose meters was a significant policy change for Pharmac and has a number of risks. For example, diabetics are now wholly reliant on one provider, where previously there was competition which kept the main provider, Roche, on its toes in terms of its after-sales service and technological development.

“Now if their blood glucose meter fails there is no way to easily access an alternative subsidised meter.

“We have also seen a recall of two faulty hip replacement devices recently, with haphazard notifications to patients thanks to bad handling by the Ministry of Health.

“These kinds of processes must be avoided by Pharmac.

"Everyone is in favour of finding economies inside the health budget, but this isn't just about bulk buying of masks and gowns. This is about medical devices of all sorts.

“I would simply urge Pharmac to do better than it did over blood glucose meters when it gets all gung ho about purchasing medical devices and saving money," Maryan Street said.


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