Updated on 19 April 2013
What services do you offer to your member?
Medicines New Zealand provides a wide range of additional services for its member companies, including briefings on policy initiatives and issues, information and advice to support member companies, public relations activity on behalf of the industry and successful self regulation.
We have something called the Medicines New Zealand Code of Practice (the Code), which is a guideline that clearly defines appropriate marketing and advertising practices for prescription medicines. All Medicines New Zealand member companies commit to complying with the code when they sign up as members. All members have the opportunity to provide input into developing the code. The code is administered by a standing committee, comprising medical and legal representatives, which has the power to direct the withdrawal of advertising, public notification and to impose company fines.
Could you kindly elaborate on the major developments that have taken place in the industry in the last two years?
Some major developments have taken place in the last two years, particularly at the very successful inaugural annual conference of the Pharmac Operational Policies and Procedures Review external stakeholder group. The conference provided policy perspectives from the medicines industry in New Zealand to the government agencies involved in medicines regulatory and funding agencies, Medsafe and Pharmac respectively. The conference supported the government's review of the ethics approval systems for clinical trials resulting in a substantially more efficient approvals system for research in New Zealand; developed an industry perspective on the potential outcomes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations; and communicated this perspective to relevant stakeholders.
What are the major industry-related policy developments that have taken place in the past year your country? Which policies among these were lobbied for by your association and why?
The national pharmaceutical funding agency has taken over responsibility for funding hospital medicines. Previously it was only responsible for funding medicines used in the community. The expansion of the role of the national funding agency for pharmaceuticals should enhance the equity of access to medicines in New Zealand hospitals. We would like to ensure though that equity does not come at the expense of early access to new medicines.
The Pharmac Operating Policies and Procedures Review is a complete review of the guiding policies for Pharmac and we would like to see greater transparency and timeliness of the process, as well as improved stakeholder access to the process and a review mechanism for decisions. We are working with our members, generics companies and patient representative groups to ensure the outcomes of the review are likely to provide the best possible system of medicines access for patients in New Zealand.