30 Jun 2020

Pharmac: "not just about money and savings"

From First Up, 5:49 am on 30 June 2020

Pharmac says the perception that all it cares about is money and savings is wrong - but admits it needs to do better at communicating that to the public. In the last year, the government's drug-buying agency has faced backlash for its decision to switch people with epilepsy and mental health conditions to a generic form of the drug lamotrigine - which has resulted in 7 deaths and at least 200 adverse reactions reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring. But there's also been some success stories this year, with Pharmac now funding contraceptives like the Mirena, a number of cancer drugs and a treatment for cystic fibrosis. Acting Medical Director Dr Ken Clark told Indira Stewart it felt good to hear how the funding of those medications has been lifechanging for many.