Getting involved in PHARMAC's decision-making
Most New Zealanders are affected by PHARMAC’s funding decisions, so it’s important that we understand your views when we are making choices.
What do we consult on?
Questions we consult on can include:
- Whether to fund a new medicine
- Whether to widen or restrict access to an already funded medicine
- Changes to the way we carry out our work
- Major projects, such as our hospital medical devices national contracting work.
We strive for good engagement with patients and consumers and are always looking at ways to keep improving. Recently we have been:
- developing an online Application Tracker where people can see the funding status of a particular medicine
- improving the PHARMAC website to make it easier to understand and easier to find information
- writing our consultation documents and other communications in plain English
- holding community forums to meet people who are interested face-to-face.
During consultation on funding and policy issues, we seek out people’s views and meet with people with a particular interest so we can hear from them face-to-face.
How do we formally consult on decisions about medicines?
It’s important that we understand the views of people who will be affected when we are making a decision.
When we are looking at whether or not a medicine or medical device should be funded, we send a written outline of what we are looking at doing to people and groups who are interested and invite them to comment. We also publish these consultation documents on our website.
Sometimes we put out a discussion document first to get some general views from people. We use those to help decide the detail of a formal proposal – and we send that out for comment too.
Most medicine funding proposals are open for comments for at least two weeks.
Who do we consult with?
We seek the views of all people who may have an interest in what we are proposing or who may be affected by it. We welcome all the views we receive, whether from:
- health professionals
- the pharmaceutical industry
- consumer and patient groups
- Government agencies
- the general public.
How can you get involved?
We keep a contact list of people who are interested in our decisions, and anyone can join it. To be added to this list, send us:
- your name
- full contact details (including your role, organisation (if relevant), postal address, email address and/or fax number) and
- your therapy area of interest – ie, the type of medicine or disease you are interested in, for example Mental Health, Diabetes, Respiratory Medicines.
Send your information to:
PO Box 10254
You will be sent proposals that relate to the therapy areas of interest you have selected.
Our consultation documents give instructions on how to give feedback.
What happens to your feedback?
Feedback and submissions are carefully considered before any decisions are made.
Submissions and feedback received by PHARMAC are subject to the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) and this could mean we are required to release your comments publicly.
The OIA allows people to request any information PHARMAC holds, including submissions and feedback we have received. Unless there are grounds under the Act to withhold the requested information, we must release it.
Sometimes we may also put submissions on our website to help the public understand how we have made a decision.
In certain circumstances the OIA allows us to withhold information, including commercially sensitive or personal information.
Role of the Consumer Advisory Committee
The Consumer Advisory Committee provides advice to the PHARMAC Board on some of PHARMAC’s processes and plans. It doesn’t give PHARMAC advice on medicine funding applications. Its role is to advise PHARMAC on how best to seek consumers’ views and respond to them.
We seek advice from the Committee on many areas, including:
- how we can obtain and consider consumers’ views on funding and policy decisions
- our strategies, policies and activities related to funding decisions, and access to and optimal use of medicines
- how we can best communicate with consumers and the public about our decisions and work
- how the Consumer Advisory Committee engages with people and communities so it can provide good quality advice to PHARMAC
- educational information for consumers.
The Committee is made up of people from a range of backgrounds and interests including the health of Māori people, Pacific people, older people and patients with chronic diseases, to name a few.
The Consumer Advisory Committee can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can write to the Consumer Advisory Committee at PHARMAC’s postal address, using CAC as the reference.
Last updated: 31 May 2019