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Doctor calls on Minister Little to release 'buried' independent report on Pharmac

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The final report of the Independent Pharmac Review Panel has been sitting with Health Minister Andrew Little since February, with no reason offered for why it has not been released, says Myeloma NZ Chief Executive Dr Ken Romeril.

"Given the damning nature of the Panel’s interim report we can only assume the report contains recommendations that the Minister finds unpalatable.

"Perhaps he’s waiting until the Budget is released, which may well include some more money for Pharmac. We note also that Pharmac meanwhile has made some pre-emptive but largely cosmetic changes to its processes.

"These things might soften reactions to the report’s findings and will of course be welcome, but they will not address the fundamental problems with the Pharmac model and its processes.

"It is galling for the many patients, clinicians and advocacy groups who went to great lengths to make submissions to the Panel and attend its workshops, to find that the report appears to have been buried.

"Submitters overwhelmingly called for fundamental changes to the Pharmac model and processes, which among many other things would require changes to Pharmac’s statutory objectives. This would include requiring Pharmac to have meaningful consumer input into its medicines funding decisions.

"Meanwhile the Pae Ora Bill is sailing through Parliament with Pharmac completely unchanged.

"It’s ironic that the report is being withheld given that lack of transparency and timeliness were among the many criticisms of Pharmac’s operations.

"We call on Minister Little to release the report as a matter of urgency," said Dr Romeril.  

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