NZNO welcomes PHARMAC review

March 1, 2021

A six-strong team, led by consumer advocate Sue Chetwin, is to review PHARMAC, the government agency which decides which medicines and medical devices will be funded. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced the review early this month.

It will focus on how its performance could be improved and whether its current objectives maximised its potential to improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders. Little said concerns about PHARMAC included access to new medicines, timeliness of decision-making, the safety of substituting medicines due to cost and availability, and access to products funded overseas but not here.

NZNO has welcomed the review and acknowledged PHARMAC’s work on “limited resources”.

NZNO wants to know how PHARMAC will guarantee any changes to products, distribution, supply and administration, will be accompanied by appropriate information, particularly for providers who supported high-needs, diverse communities, living with multiple health conditions/co-morbidities.

NZNO’s policy team wants to know if PHARMAC is considering the Ministry of Health’s definition of equity and whether there was a plan to ensure all information reflected a culturally responsive approach to education and training. It is also keen to know how PHARMAC’s intention to improve access to medicines for Māori and Pacific peoples will be implemented.

The team will be preparing a submission for the review and said it would have been a great opportunity to have a nurse practitioner on the review panel to showcase that role.