Thursday, February 29, 2024

David Seymour: Parallel Assessment Means New Medicines Assessed Sooner

Pharmac is changing its process so it can assess a funding application at the same time Medsafe is assessing the application for regulatory approval. This means that medicines will be able to be considered for funding sooner in New Zealand.

Access to medicines is a crucial part of many Kiwis’ lives. We’re speeding up the process so more people have access to the medicines they need, faster.

Currently, Pharmac waits until Medsafe has completed its assessment before it starts a funding assessment. Doing both at the same time will mean medicines are assessed sooner.

It’s a common-sense efficiency that costs nothing but helps Kiwis in need. It can shave up to nine months off the approval process.

Australia and Canada already use this process, and in New Zealand Pharmac has been successfully using it for cancer medicines. Now, medicines in all therapeutic areas will go through this more streamlined process.

This is the first change as part of this Government’s commitment to improving access to medicines. The ACT/National coalition document also commits to making changes to require Medsafe to approve new pharmaceuticals within thirty days of them being approved by at least two overseas regulatory agencies recognised by New Zealand.

We’re committed to ensuring that the regulatory system for pharmaceuticals is not unreasonably holding back access. It will lead to more Kiwis being able to access the medicines they need to live a fulfilling life.

David Seymour is the Leader of ACT and a coaltion partner in the current National government. David is a graduate of Auckland Grammar and the University of Auckland (in Electrical Engineering and Philosophy). This article was first published HERE


EP said...

Good Lord - seems dangerously sensible. If this kind of thinking is perpetuated, we could have a well-run country - and fewer bureaucrats. I think we could cope.

Peter said...

And those that Pharmac doesn't fund, but are still considered worthwhile given other reputable experiences overseas, i.e. is it still fair or reasonable that the Govt should not only not fund but also clip the ticket for GST on those poor unfortunates that are funding those life-extending medications themselves?

Whether you exempt the GST or provide an equivalent subsidy (if you don't want to mess with the former) it does not matter, the fact is that charging the equivalent of GST is manifestly unfair (and inappropriate) on those that have no choice but to buy those life-prolonging (typically very expensive) medications that the Govt/Pharmac chooses not to fund. (NB. It's inappropriate that a Govt extracts an income off the misfortune of a few, that the Govt would/should perhaps otherwise be fully funding under our accepted welfare system.)

So, what you propose is great David, but you need to think about going a step further?

And if not, please give us a good reason why not - other than you don't want to mess with GST? For if the latter's the excuse, it doesn't wash.

Very easy for anyone to turn a blind eye to this, but just be thankful it's not you in this predicament.

Anonymous said...

Basically, Pharmac will be looking at funding drugs before they’ve been proven to be safe and effective because Medsafe is 90% funded by drug companies and can rely solely on information they provide making is effectively a rubber-stamping organisation: not a safety agency. It is the fox guarding the henhouse and this would not be sensible policy even if medsafe was actually capable of doing the job the public thinks it is doing.