“A review of PHARMC is more urgent than ever, after PHARMAC has quietly proposed removing 23 drugs from its waiting list,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The ACT Party led the way in calling for an independent review of PHARMAC’s operating model to allow for greater transparency and more timeliness in decision making.
“Some medicines sit on the PHARMAC waiting list for years. A recent proposal by PHARMAC proposes to decline inactive funding applications. On this list, 23 out of the 59 drugs are on PHARMAC’s waiting list.
“That means PHARMAC’s own experts have deemed them worthy of funding. On this list, five have been waiting for over a decade and 12 have been between five-10 years. Four of these drugs are used to treat mental health and two are used to treat HIV, there is also a breast cancer drug known to have fewer side effects than the one that is currently funded.
“It would be heart breaking for people who have waited years in the hope the medicine they need will reach the top of the list, only to have it removed all together.
“PHARMAC has played an important role in managing and restraining government spending on medicines, particularly in bulk buying mass-use drugs and staying within budget. But the world of medicines has changed, and a rapid flow of highly sophisticated, costly, new generation medicines is transforming patient outcomes.
“In many cases, the taxpayer could actually save money by keeping people in work or saving on other healthcare interventions if more pharmaceuticals were funded. However, the current funding model doesn’t consider these possibilities, it only funds a medicine if it is more effective than other ones within a given budget.
“A review should be conducted by a skilled, independent committee that includes public and private sector expertise.
“As an electorate MP, I have dealt with too many heart-breaking cases where constituents have battled to get the medicines they need to survive or live without pain. This review will ensure more New Zealanders can live the best lives possible.”