“A report this morning that all PHARMAC staff, rather than clinical experts or those with patient experience are making decisions about life savings medicines is astounding," says ACT’s Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Is PHARMAC using staff as de facto focus groups for funding decisions?

“Every year ill people cross their fingers and hope for the best, that the medicine they’re asking for will be funded.

“There are medicines on PHARMAC’s priority list that have sat unfunded for up to 16-years.

“The idea that medicines could be bumped up or down priority lists based on popular opinion rather than clinical opinion is staggering.

“New Zealanders deserve to know whether this is the case.

“New Zealanders are asking for more transparency on which medicines PHARMAC choose to fund. They need to know: When was the medicine first added to the priority list?

“How long has the medicine sat on the list? When did PHARMAC last consider the medicine worthy for investment?

“And now: Who in PHARMAC was involved in decisions to increase or decrease prioritisation

“ACT was the first party to call for a review of PHARMAC. It needs to be done properly. Questions about PHARMAC’s decision making process must be addressed in the PHARMAC inquiry.”