“PHARMAC’s appearance before the Health Select Committee tomorrow morning is a triumph for transparency and the result of ACT’s persistent advocacy for a review into PHARMAC,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“It was ACT who got the Select Committee to agree to PHARMAC coming along tomorrow, and it was ACT who kicked off the entire process of having an independent review.

“The Government was dragged into a review of PHARMAC kicking and screaming. The review was first proposed by ACT during the election campaign and National and Labour only agreed after being backed into a corner during an election debate.

“ACT began calling for a review because it was clear PHARMAC wasn’t meeting its objective of providing the best health outcomes for New Zealanders.

“Once the review was finally released it was clear that PHARMAC needed to front up to Parliament and respond to the review, so I requested a briefing through the Chair of the Health Select Committee.

“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.

“Tomorrow is the first opportunity to prosecute these findings and ensure that PHARMAC is providing the best service for Kiwis.

“They need to be held accountable. ACT will continue advocating for better health outcomes for Kiwis.”

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Brooke van Velden