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PHARMAC prepares to take over the procurement of medical devices

Access to medical devices in New Zealand is changing


The Therapeutic Products Bill will be published shortly, resulting in PHARMAC assuming responsibility for the procurement and funding of medical devices in addition to their current brief of medicines. This is due to the establishment of a joint regulatory scheme to incorporate all therapeutic products (medicines including cell and tissue products and medical devices). This Bill replaces the Medicines Act that has been in place since 1981.


It is widely acknowledged that PHARMAC has implemented policies that have resulted in the procurement of the lowest priced drugs in the OECD. However, PHARMAC has also implemented policies have resulted in significant delay in access to new medicines, primarily due to working with a fixed yearly budget.


Professional medical societies agree that the Medicines Act 1981 is outdated and no longer fit for purpose but have expressed concern regarding the potential change in patients’ access to medical devices.


Considering the potential impact of disruptions to the supply chain and reduced availability of medical device products, it is critical to have a practical and thorough understanding of the challenges to market access in New Zealand to successfully navigate the increasingly complex PHARMAC reimbursement system. 


The Commercial Eyes Market Access team is highly experienced in developing reimbursement strategy and funding applications for consideration by PHARMAC. For assistance in navigating the PHARMAC reimbursement and pricing landscape, please contact Tenille Manuele (Director, Market Access & Pricing): [email protected]

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