December Newsletter - Pharmac Review Panel's interim report

Dear Friends

As you probably noted the interim report of the Pharmac Review Panel was released by Hon Andrew Little on 2 December.

It is a damning report, with the Panel noting that it could not make a meaningful analysis of Pharmac’s performance as it ‘zealously guards information’ and has a ‘fortress mentality’.

It states for example, that “We are unable to see and measure the links between inputs, impacts, outcomes, and the long-term objective of achieving the best health outcomes possible from its budget.”

It provides the following summary of Pharmac’s stakeholder engagement and an initial assessment of its decision-making processes:

  • “Pharmac is underperforming in helping to remove inequitable health outcomes
  • Its prioritisation approach appears to disadvantage Māori, Pacific people, disabled people and those with rare disorders
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles are largely unseen in decision-making processes
  • There may be an excessive focus on containing costs – and a concern the cost-saving model may not be the right one to meet future health needs
  • Decision making is opaque and is perceived as being slow
  • Engagement with consumers and patient advocacy groups needs to be more meaningful
  • Convoluted procurement processes put off pharmaceutical companies
  • A perception New Zealand is falling behind other developed countries”

CLLANZ made a submission to the Panel which was very much in tune with these findings, and we were pleased to see an acknowledgement in a message in the report from the Panel’s Chair of the specific contribution made by the late Dr Neil Graham.

The final report, which will include recommendations, will be received by the Minister on 28 February, and released some time after that.

Meanwhile the Government’s Pae Ora Legislation Select Committee is considering the Pae Ora Bill that establishes the new health system structure. This bill includes Pharmac with its statutory objectives and functions quite unchanged so we have again submitted on the need to amend these and also to wait for the final report of the Review Panel before advancing this part of the legislation. See our submission here.

This has been a difficult year for CLLANZ with a very sad ending, but we are doing our best to maintain our advocacy for New Zealanders living with CLL and we look forward to continuing to do so.

We wish you the very best for a safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year.