Following the Government’s announcement in early March 2021 that it would conduct an independent review into PHARMAC, Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) has recently made a submission to the independent panel, chaired by consumer advocate Sue Chetwin.

BCAC Chair Libby Burgess will attend a patient group meeting with the PHARMAC Review panel on July 16, 2021. The purpose of the meeting is to gain insight into the experiences of consumers and patients in relation to the funding of medicines and interactions with PHARMAC.

Patient Voice Aotearoa (PVA), who has been at the forefront of calling for this PHARMAC review, met separately with the panel at an earlier meeting to present a number of individual patient submissions.

Among the concerns that BCAC and PVA, as well as other patient groups, have raised are: the lack of access to new medicines, timeliness of decision making, and the application of criteria that inform PHARMAC’s prioritisation and funding decisions.

The Review will focus on two areas:

  • How well PHARMAC performs against its current objectives and whether and how its performance against these could be improved.
  • Whether PHARMAC’s current objectives maximise its potential to improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders as part of the wider health system, and whether and how these objectives should be changed.

It will consider a range of factors, including: the timeliness of PHARMAC’s decision making (in particular for new medicines); the transparency and accessibility of decision-making processes; and equity, including access to medicines and devices for Māori and Pacific peoples.

Libby noted that BCAC’s submission asked the Review panel to do whatever it takes to open the Government’s eyes to the depth of the problems with the current model and their real impacts on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders and their whānau.

“We believe it will take a significant shift of political attitude, systems and funding to achieve meaningful reform so please take the input of affected patients and their representatives seriously and do your best to convince the Government that deep change is needed. This review provides a rare opportunity to shine a light on a broken system.”

You can read our full submission here.

The review is intended to run until the end of the year with an interim report in August and a final report in December 2021.

15 July 2021

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