Thursday, 19 May 2022

PHARMAC funding review needed

“The ACT Party today welcomes a $191 million boost to funding for PHARMAC - now we need a proper funding review,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“This budget increase will bring hope to people who literally faced a life-or-death situation that the drugs they need to live a healthier life will be funded, but the question is now ‘how many new drugs will this increase fund?’

“I have heard stories of the pain and suffering Kiwis have endured, like children with Cystic Fibrosis unable to clear their lungs or attend school, and people with Crohn’s and Colitis facing multiple operations to remove their intestines and ongoing hospitalisations.

“ACT was the first party to call for a review of PHARMAC. The terms of reference of the current review excluded funding.

“It’s now more important than ever that funding is reviewed so that we have a policy to compare options of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as operating with buying the drugs.

“At the moment we have no policy to weigh up those options, but the Government’s PHARMAC review won’t even ask the question.

“Instead, we had to wait for the budget, “just a few more sleeps” as Grant Robertson kept saying.

“It’s political theatre to increase budgets and have patients cross their fingers, we need a robust strategy for medicines access.

“ACT also calls for the Government to produce a Medicines Strategy. It is not possible to truly reform the healthcare system without considering the role medicines play in the lives of New Zealanders. ACT has put forward an amendment to the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill to require a Medicines Strategy that would increase oversight, transparency, and a direction of travel for medicines access in our health system.

“It’s what’s fair and right for people who are suffering from chronic pain and diseases.”