Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pharmac hits back at talk of stinginess

Medicine funding is "not about counting votes" or making popular decisions, says Pharmac chief executive Matthew Brougham.

In the national drug-buying agency's annual review, Mr Brougham hit back at accusations of stinginess.

This month the Government took the unprecedented step of bypassing Pharmac's independent decision-making process to directly fund 12 months' of the costly breast cancer drug Herceptin.

Earlier this year, a group of cancer patients took Pharmac to court over its decision to offer just nine weeks' treatment.

The High Court ordered Pharmac to do more "public consultation", which attracted more than 300 submissions, but did not overturn the original decision.

Mr Brougham said Pharmac was making efforts to improve the way it consulted with and relayed its decisions to the public. ...more

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