“ACT is appalled that Pharmac is refusing to front up to media on the day its long-delayed review has finally been revealed,” says ACT’s Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Pharmac have had this review since the Minister gave it to them on 3 March. They’ve had months to digest it and offer a response, instead they’re running for cover.

“For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. It is downright disrespectful that Pharmac is refusing to be held accountable when they are responsible for so many peoples’ health and enjoyment of life.

“The review has brought to light serious deficiencies in the way Pharmac operates. Including that Pharmac staff, rather than clinical experts or those with patient experience, are making decisions about life saving medicines. The idea that medicines could be bumped up or down priority lists based on popular opinion rather than clinical opinion is staggering and should be fixed.

“I’ve written to the Chair of the Health Select Committee requesting a briefing from Pharmac on its response to the review.

“They need to be held accountable. Patients have felt let down and disillusioned by the process around this review and its findings, they deserve to hear Pharmac’s response.”

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Brooke van Velden