Updated on 20 November 2012
What is the progress on the key recommendations that the committee had recommended?
The government did not agree with our suggestions relating to Pharmac, including the formation of an industry liaison body similar to Australia. However, I understand that Pharmac is meeting regularly with the industry and that the general relationship with pharmaceutical companies and Medicines New Zealand is much more constructive and useful than it has been in the past.
There is also a view that the government needs to embed a research ethos in our health system, with district health boards being required to have research and training as part of their key performance indicators.
On the very positive side, most of the recommendations have been acted on, or are in the process of being acted on. The new electronic ethics committee process has commenced since 2012. This has seen improved operating procedures, less duplication, and clearly defined time lines. Comments I have received are that the New Zealand system is now one-of-the-best in the world in terms of efficiency, while maintaining the vital function of a robust ethical system.
The New Zealand Health Innovation Hub was established in June 2012 and involves a partnership of the four major district health boards (DHBs). It aims to include further district health boards, crown research industries, universities, and private industry. Given that the private and public spend on health in New Zealand is over $18 billion, there is a huge opportunity to harness innovation for the benefit of New Zealand. The hub is initially funded by the central government with an aim of being self-sustaining within five years.
Organizations, including the Ministry of Science and Innovation, New Zealand trade and industry, labour and housing, along with the Health Research Council, Ministry of Health, Tertiary Education Commission and National Health Committee are working together with Sir Peter Gluckman (chief scientific adviser to the Prime Minister) to develop a national health research framework.