Wednesday, 2 December 2020

PHARMAC review must deliver real change

“The Prime Minister must commit to the review into PHARMAC she confirmed will happen in Parliament today being robust and leading to much-needed change to the funding agency’s 30 year old model,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“I welcome Jacinda Ardern’s promise to follow through on the commitment she made on the campaign trail to review PHARMAC.

“But this isn’t an issue she can just pay lip service to.

“Every Member of Parliament knows some of the most moving cases to come through their doors are sick people who could be effectively treated with drugs that aren’t funded here but are readily available as nearby as Australia and as far away as the United Kingdom.

“It’s clear the PHARMAC model is broken.

“The strategy from those who decide how to divide PHARMAC’s budget is largely to load up on as many generic treatments as possible.

“The question of whether investing in new pharmaceuticals would actually save the taxpayer money in other areas doesn’t seem to be asked.

“Some drugs have the potential to help people stay at work longer, enjoying a higher quality of life, often avoiding other costly and traumatic medical interventions such as surgeries.

“Alas PHARMAC keeps lumbering on with a model now desperately in need of review.

“This issue is particularly salient today, after I accepted a petition of over 30,000 signatures from Crohn’s and Colitis New Zealand at Parliament.

“Their supporters, including gastroenterologists and nurses, marched on PHARMAC headquarters before coming to Parliament to provide a perfect example of how broken the PHARMAC model is.

“They are campaigning for PHARMAC to fund a medication that is proven to work for their condition – often saving the need for regular, major surgeries – which is funded in 38 other countries.

“ACT agrees with the chair of Crohn’s and Colitis New Zealand that it is outrageous that suffering New Zealanders have to go to such lengths to get access to medications that are standard treatments funded throughout the Western world.

“The least the Government can do is agree to reviewing the 30 year old PHARMAC law and funding model.”