Labour’s policy to ring-fence pharmaceutical funding is widely considered to be bad news for Pharmac’s funding model, National Party Associate Health Spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The Ministry of Health warned the Health Select Committee before the election that ‘there is strong evidence suggesting that ring-fenced funding for medicines would undermine Pharmac’s business model’.

“Yet David Clark is still pursuing their policy to implement an interim drugs fund despite the Ministry of Health, Pharmac and the Health Select Committee all agreeing that it may reduce Pharmac’s buying power.

“In the Briefing to Incoming Ministers Pharmac warns of the failed UK early Access to Medicines Scheme and goes on to say that a similar scheme in New Zealand would ‘make unpicking existing arrangements challenging’.

“When asked whether ring-fenced funding undermines the Pharmac model the Minister touts the successful Pharmac rare medicines trial as an example, however, earlier this month the Health Select Committee tabled their report on a rare medicines petition where they suggested that the model was not effective for Pharmac’s bottom line.

“Not only are the Ministry specifically saying that Pharmac will be negatively affected but even David Clark’s own colleagues on the select committee unanimously agreed with the report in its entirety.

“We need to ensure that the learnings from the Pharmac rare medicines trial are not ignored and take notice of the warnings from officials and international experience.”

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