PHARMAC inquiry light and late

The Government’s long overdue inquiry into PHARMAC is light on detail and several years late, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“National would have liked to have seen a much more comprehensive inquiry.

“A key concern from New Zealanders will be that the budget allocation to PHARMAC will be excluded from the review. So will access to products funded overseas but not in New Zealand.

“It is pleasing to see a disabled voice at the table, but overall the patient voice seems light and there is no pharmaceutical industry representative.

“There is also no indication that PHARMAC will benchmark itself against overseas best practice and there is no specific commentary around rare disorders or rapid access schemes.

“The terms of reference clearly need tightening up.

“The Minister of health doesn’t expect to see a final report until December. If the Government had only supported National’s calls for an inquiry three years ago then not only would it have been completed by now, but any recommendations could be implemented.

“For three years National has been pushing an inquiry into PHARMAC, but it wasn’t until the Prime Minister came under pressure from Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins and the New Zealand public did she finally bow and agree to an inquiry.

“If Labour hadn’t engaged in partisan politics a comprehensive inquiry could have been completed by now, with any recommendations implemented and New Zealanders’ confidence in our medicine buying company restored.”