15 July 2021: OIA response | Improvements to Pharmac's management of changes to funded brands of medicines

15 July 2021 

Dear [name and contact details withheld] 

Request for information 

Further to our previous letter to you on 17 June 2021, please find our response to your request dated 15 May 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), for information relating to changing brands of funded medicines. You requested: 

All documents, reports, written correspondence or other documentation assessing what, if any future safeguards Pharmac will put in place when considering a brand switch to a generic

All written correspondence to external parties, including MedSafe, Pharmacy Council NZ, Medical Council, and DHBs around any advice to put in place any future safeguards when considering a brand switch to a generic

We have interpreted your request to relate to changes to our medicines brand change processes that were not implemented by the date of your request. 

As detailed in our letter of 17 June, we made some improvements in 2020 to how we manage medicines brand changes. Please find attached with this letter, copies of documents prior to the date of your request that summarise improvements to our management of changes to funded brands of medicines. 

We do not hold any documents within the scope of your request about future safeguards for considering brand changes to medicines. As such, we have not provided the documents requested on the basis that no such documents exist (section 18(e) of the OIA). 

Please note you have the right, by way of complaint under section 28(3) of the OIA to an Ombudsman, to seek an investigation and review of our decision. 

We trust that this information answers your queries. We are making our information more freely available, so we now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this. 

Yours sincerely 

Rachel Read
Manager, Policy and Government Services