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.
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.
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.