Why was the review needed?

Pharmac has played a major role in delivering access to medicines over the last 25 years. However there have been concerns raised about the model and the government felt there is scope for improving it.

The Review focuses on two areas:

  • How well Pharmac performs against its current objectives and whether and how its performance against these could be improved,

  • Whether Pharmac’s current objectives maximise its potential to improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders as part of the wider health system, and whether and how these objectives should be changed.

Who sits on the review panel?

You can find out more about the panel here.

What does the interim report look at?

The interim report focuses on:

  • New Zealand’s place in the global context and how Pharmac compares to how pharmaceutical funding is considered in other countries

  • learnings from submissions and stakeholder meetings

  • Pharmac’s role in assessing medicines for public funding and how transparent these processes are

  • whether Pharmac’s current objectives and processes enable equitable outcomes for Māori, Pacific and disabled peoples

  • how and to what extent Pharmac supports the Crown in meeting its Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations

Why is there is so much emphasis on what stakeholders think?

The panel felt it was important to record and consider what a wide range of stakeholders and Pharmac had to tell them. Many of the people the panel heard from were consistent in the concerns they shared about Pharmac. This was supported by the initial analysis undertaken and led to the observations in the interim report.

Did the panel consider all submissions equally? 

The panel considered 213 submissions from industry, clinicians, patient groups and academics. All the submissions were considered and analysed by research experts.

How did the panel consider equity?

In assessing Pharmac’s approach to equity, the panel has looked at Pharmac’s goals for equity, their progress towards these goals and the extent to which pro-equity systems and processes are embedded within the core functions and structures of the organisation.

The panel has used the Ministry of Health’s definition of equity which focuses on identifying and removing differences in health that are not only avoidable but unfair and unjust, as its starting point.

The panel is continuing to look into these issues as it prepares the final report.

What will the panel do next?

The panel continues to work on the issues raised in the interim report including:

  • looking more closely at Pharmac’s governance arrangements

  • other aspects of Pharmac’s functions, including the role it plays in assessing medical devices and vaccines

  • outstanding aspects of the terms of reference especially around equitable outcomes

  • looking further at funding for people with rare disorders

  • considering Pharmac’s role in the reformed health system, and

  • making recommendations to support Pharmac to become more effective at improving health outcomes for all New Zealanders

Why didn’t the review have access to all the information it asked for?

Pharmac did share a large amount of information with the panel, and this was included in the interim report. However, there were some areas the panel wanted to look at in more depth and it is still negotiating access to this information with Pharmac.  

Why is the panel not seeking further submissions/feedback/consultation?

The panel received considerable detail from submitters for the interim report. It is continuing with targeted consultation.

However, if people were not able to make a submission or have something new they wish to share with the panel, they are welcome to email pharmacreview@health.govt.nz.

When is the final report due?

The panel will deliver its final report to the Minister of Health by 28 February 2021.

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