26 March 2021: OIA response | sodium valproate dispensing figures for women in 2018 and 2019

26 March 2021 

Dear [name and contact details withheld]

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Thank you for your request dated 10 March 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to women dispensed sodium valproate in 2018 and 2019.

Previous data provided for 2019

We have identified that the data previously provided by PHARMAC for females dispensed antiseizure medicines in 2019 did not remove counts of duplicated people across age bands where a person’s age changed within the calendar year. This resulted in a higher number of people being reported to have received sodium valproate than the actual number of people who received the medicine.

For example, if a person aged 4 received a dispensing in 2019 then received another dispensing in 2019 after they turned 5, they would be counted in both the 0-4 and 5-9 age bands.

New data provided for 2018 and 2019

We have extracted a new data set and have provided a summary of Māori and Cook Island Māori females who were dispensed sodium valproate in 2018 and 2019 below. We have identified a person’s age for this data based on their age at the time of their last dispensing of sodium valproate in the specific calendar year.

For example, if a person aged 4 received a dispensing in 2019 then received another dispensing in 2019 after they turned 5, they would be counted in only the 5-9 age band. This means the data provided below gives a combined total lower than the data provided by PHARMAC in 2019.

Please note that PHARMAC approaches its assessment of requests for information under the OIA on the basis that, once released, the information becomes publicly available - in other words once we release the information to you it becomes available to any other party in that exact form (whether by you distributing it to others or by virtue of us receiving the same request from a different third party).

Where 10 or fewer people received a dispensed medicine, we have changed the number shown to "≤10" as we believe this is necessary to protect the privacy of these people (section 9(2)(a) of the OIA).

As required under the OIA, we also considered whether, in the circumstances, the withholding of this information was outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable, in the public interest, to make this information available.  In this case we did not consider that the public interest outweighed the reasons for withholding the information.

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 will 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

Table 1: Māori and Cook Island Māori females dispensed sodium valproate in 2018 and 2019

Age band (years)

2018

2019

2018

2019

 

Māori

Cook Island Māori

0 to 4

28

18

≤10

≤10

5 to 9

72

70

≤10

≤10

10 to 14

38

33

≤10

≤10

15 to 19

49

48

≤10

≤10

20 to 24

104

92

≤10

≤10

25 to 29

116

108

≤10

≤10

30 to 34

126

111

≤10

≤10

35 to 39

137

113

12

12

40 to 44

162

145

≤10

≤10

45 to 49

225

210

≤10

≤10

50 to 54

259

258

17

14

55 to 59

240

255

13

14

60 to 64

152

154

≤10

≤10

65 to 69

101

117

≤10

≤10

70 to 74

57

57

≤10

≤10

75 to 79

48

48

≤10

≤10

80 to 84

21

18

≤10

≤10

85 to 89

≤10

≤10

≤10

≤10

90 to 94

≤10

≤10

≤10

≤10

Total

1,947

1,866

102

108