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Funding for Male and Female Medications (twice updated)

Peter Zohrab 2019

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Email to Pharmac

Reply from Pharmac

Second Email to Pharmac

Second reply from Pharmac

Third reply from Pharmac

Substantive reply from Pharmac

 

Dear sir/Madam,

Under the Official Information Act, for the most recent year for which you have figures, could you please state (a) the annual number of, and (b) annual amount of funding allocated to:

  1. prostate cancer-specific drugs;

  2. testicular cancer-specific drugs;

  3. penile cancer-specific drugs;

  4. breast cancer-specific drugs; and

  5. cervical cancer-specific drugs.

 

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Zohrab

 

I received the following reply:

 

Hi Peter

You can search for medicines use on the Ministry of Health's DataPharm tool.

You will need to specify the medicines you want data for.

The costs of each medicine can be found on Pharmac's online schedule.

You can contact the Ministry of Health data team at data-enquiries@health.govt.nz if you require assistance with the tool.

I note that we don’t allocate funding to a particular medicine.

Donna Jennings | Communications Advisor

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PHARMAC | PO Box 10 254 | Level 10, 40 Mercer Street, Wellington

DDI: +64 4 901 3234 | P: +64 4 460 4990 | F: +64 4 460 4995 | www.pharmac.govt.nz

 

I replied as follows:

 

Dear Donna Jennings,

Thank you for your reply. My response is as follows:

  1. Pharmac is subject to the Official Information Act and I made a request for information to you under the Official Information Act.

  2. I did not request that you ask me to go and search elsewhere.

  3. Please respond to my request as originally stated to you.

  4. It is customary for government organisations to point out that I could appeal to the Ombudsman if dissatisfied with their response. You did not do that.

  5. You stated, "I note that we don’t allocate funding to a particular medicine," but I am unable to see any distinction between that statement and a blatant lie, since your own website (at https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/medicines/how-medicines-are-funded/new-funding-applications/) states, "A funding application is a request made to PHARMAC to change the way we fund a medicine. This can be done through either requesting that a new medicine be funded; or by requesting we make changes to the way a medicine is funded (for example, requesting widened access to the medicine)."

  6. If your statement is in some way technically correct, that means that you deliberately made a misleading statement to me that happened to be technically correct and failed to explain why it was misleading.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Peter Zohrab

 

I received the following reply:

 

Dear Peter

Thanks for your query.

Can you also please provide a time period for the data search (we have data back to 1993)? That will help us to process your request.

The only expenditure figures we have are based on claims data, would you like to reword your request on that basis?

Thanks and regards

Simon England | Senior Communications Adviser

___________________________________________________________________
PHARMAC | PO Box 10 254 | Level 9, 40 Mercer Street, Wellington
DDI: +64 4 916 7516| M: +64 21 546 361 | | P: +64 4 460 4990 | www.pharmac.govt.nz

 

Before I had time to reply to the above, I received a third message from Pharmac, as follows:

 

Dear Peter

This is to acknowledge we have received your request for information under the Official Information Act (1982) and have started working on it. We will have a reply to you as soon as possible and no later than the due date of 15 October.

Please be aware that we may publish our response to you on our website. Should you wish to amend your request, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Kind regards

Simon England | Senior Communications Adviser

___________________________________________________________________
PHARMAC | PO Box 10 254 | Level 9, 40 Mercer Street, Wellington
DDI: +64 4 916 7516| M: +64 21 546 361 | | P: +64 4 460 4990 | www.pharmac.govt.nz

 

In due course, I received the following substantive reply from Pharmac:

 

Letter from Pharmac of 11.10.19 p.1
Letter from Pharmac of 11.10.19 p.2

 

-- Hamill, Jasper (2019): "Men are more disadvantaged than women in the UK, US and most of Europe, scientists claim." Metro, 4 Jan 2019.

 

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Latest Update

13 October 2019

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