Growing our role in medical devices

What’s happening?

The Government decided in 2012 to seek the benefits of expanding PHARMAC’s role to include managing DHB hospital medical devices.

Eventually, this will mean that:

  • PHARMAC will decide which devices are publicly funded to get the best possible health outcomes
  • each DHB will decide what devices they use to deliver local services, choosing the most appropriate from a national medical devices list that PHARMAC will manage
  • PHARMAC would manage a process to consider access to items outside the list when exceptional circumstances require this. 

Initially, the list would largely reflect the products being used by DHBs at that time.

PHARMAC would continue to run processes aimed at achieving better value for money. This may result in changes to the products available on the list.

Benefits of this new approach are expected to include:

  • more consistent access to devices for people getting treatment, regardless of where they live (because all DHBs will choose the devices they use from a common list)
  • funding will be freed which may be used to invest in new technology
  • DHBs will be supported to manage growing spending on devices in a more sustainable way
  • a high level of transparency around funding decisions.

Once further work has been done to developing up the operational detail, we will be able to set a date for implementation.

Our approach

Because of the significant amount of work and change involved, we’re taking a gradual approach to implementing our role in managing DHB hospital medical devices.

Since our involvement began in 2012, we've gathered a lot of information from consultation and meetings with people in the health sector. This information is guiding our approach to managing hospital medical devices.

What we’ve done so far

We’ve started by negotiating national contracts, which enable all DHBs to buy products they’re currently using on common terms for things like price and supply.

As well as delivering immediate benefits to DHBs, this work is laying the foundation for work to come. That’s because it’s enabling us to:

  • build important relationships with device stakeholders
  • compile a list of devices that largely reflect what DHBs are using
  • develop our understanding of these products.

We’ve also negotiated some market share agreements, which guarantee suppliers a portion of the market in return for offering competitive pricing on products.

What happens next?

Once we’ve completed building the list of devices, we’ll be able to move to the next phase of our work, managing fairer access to hospital medical devices.

> Read what you told us managing fairer access should look like

This has also been referred to in the past as investment management, as it’s when we’ll start making decisions about which new device technology the government funds.