|Implemented in this survey?|
In December 2007, the Minister of Health released a high-level national medicines strategy and accompanying action plan for New Zealand. The broad objectives of this strategy are to implement processes that secure quality, access and optimal use of medicines. Significant progress has been achieved on the first Action Plan. Details of the Plan have therefore now been reviewed and updated.
In New Zealand, decisions about which medicines should be publicly funded and what price should be paid are made by a government agency, PHARMAC. In 2007, following extensive consultation, the government released a strategic framework entitled 'Medicines New Zealand' (Ministry of Health 2007a) together with an accompanying action plan, 'Actioning Medicines New Zealand' (Ministry of Health 2007b). The strategy aimed to support the medicines system to deliver:
The focus of the Action Plan was on the processes used by PHARMAC and other key stakeholders in securing medicines for New Zealanders. The Ministry of Health has reported a number of achievements since the first Action Plan, including:
In the light of these achievements, the Action Plan has been revised (Ministry of Health 2010). The priority areas for action will now be:
|Degree of Innovation||traditional||innovative|
|Degree of Controversy||consensual||highly controversial|
|Structural or Systemic Impact||marginal||fundamental|
|Public Visibility||very low||very high|
This policy combines a range of different actions. It is therefore difficult to generalise about some of its characteristics. For example, while some aspects are quite innovative, other parts of the plan will simply make marginal changes to existing practice. Similarly, while some components of the plan would be transferable to other systems, the parts that concern PHARMAC are probably system-specific. Few parts of the plan are controversial and there is unlikely to be any major systemic impact.
|Implemented in this survey?|
Submissions about the original plan to develop a national medicines strategy overwhelmingly supported the idea, especially the need to improve the transparency, flexibility and responsiveness of PHARMAC. Given that various action points to achieve these objectives have now been implemented as planned, there is no reason to believe that the views of stakeholders have changed since 2007.
|Ministry of Health||very supportive||strongly opposed|
|DHBs||very supportive||strongly opposed|
|Consumer groups||very supportive||strongly opposed|
|PHARMAC||very supportive||strongly opposed|
A key part of the Action Plan will be to make the necessary legislative changes to the Medicines Act 1981. Prior to making any changes, the Ministry of Health is consulting with key stakeholders to determine what changes need to be made in order to:
Changes to the legislation are likely to include an expansion of prescribing rights such as:
|Ministry of Health||very strong||none|
|Consumer groups||very strong||none|
Both the Ministry of Health and PHARMAC have been active in implementing proposals in the first Action Plan and both parties will continue to lead the actions necessary for implementing this updated Plan.
The Ministry of Health reported that "signficant progress" was made on the first Action Plan. The Ministry will continue to monitor implementation of the updated Plan and will report annually on progress.
|Quality of Health Care Services||marginal||fundamental|
|Level of Equity||system less equitable||system more equitable|
|Cost Efficiency||very low||very high|
This policy includes a range of different strategies which are likely to have some impact on quality, equity and efficiency in the use of medicines. For example, quality and safety should be improved by updating the regulatory regime; equity of access should be improved as decision-making becomes more transparent and by extending prescribing rights to a wider range of providers, and cost efficiency will be improved if a more optimal use of medicines can be achieved.
Process Stages: Policy Paper