John Wyeth
Medical Director, PHARMAC, Wellington, NZ


John joined PHARMAC in 2012 as a deputy medical director with particular responsibility for secondary care, leading PHARMAC’s clinical interactions around hospital medicines and hospital medical devices. 

He was appointed Medical Director in 2013, and leads the team that provides clinical input to PHARMAC, including through the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee. The team interacts with clinicians across both the primary and secondary care sectors.


PHARMAC: An Evidence Based Organisation 

PHARMAC's statutory objective is to secure for eligible people in need of pharmaceuticals, the best health outcomes that are reasonably achievable from pharmaceutical treatment and from within the amount of funding provided. PHARMAC can fund and perform research to assist in achieving this objective and it has a long track record of doing this. PHARMAC utilises a network of clinical advisors to give both advice and critical appraisal of evidence in forming recommendations for funding pharmaceuticals.

In mid-2016, PHARMAC entered into a partnership with the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) to fund research looking at questions around pharmaceuticals and their use in New Zealand. Two projects have been funded in 2016/17: “Improving acceptance of generic medicines” by Prof Keith Petrie, and “Improving metformin adherence and persistence in people with type 2 diabetes” by Dr Lianne Parkin.

PHARMAC has published an analysis looking at health gains from cancer medicines funded in Australia and in New Zealand, suggesting more funded medicines may not lead to better health outcomes. A recent summer student project has looked at real world outcomes from funded cancer medicines in New Zealand compared to published clinical trial data and is in the process of being prepared for publication. Funding decisions are based on published clinical trial data and use of drugs in real world situations, once funded, involves different groups of patients with varying co-morbidities which can affect expected health outcomes.