Requests for Proposals (RFPs)

Pharmac uses RFPs to signal its interest in funding a specific product or type of products.

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What is an RFP?

A Request for Proposals (RFP) is a formal request asking suppliers to propose how their goods or services or works can achieve a specific outcome and meet budgets.

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A quick description of what an RFP is and how Pharmac uses them to fund medicines.

Why an RFP?

As a government entity, Pharmac must openly advertise procurement opportunities where there are several suppliers who may be able to participate. 

Pharmac must make decisions that are fair, evidence-based, and that achieve the best health outcomes for New Zealanders within the budget available. It is not as simple as picking a product that currently works for some people.

We must secure the most appropriate products from within our budget and ensure there will be continuity of supply and support for people who use them.

Using an RFP for procurement:

  • Gives suppliers the opportunity to respond with various proposals. 
  • Encourages competitive bidding between suppliers for different funding scenarios because, like a tender, they are not aware of other suppliers’ bids and must prepare their best offer.
  • Ensures suppliers consider how they would make it easier for New Zealanders to use their products. For example, allowing enough time and support for people to change brands or treatment.
  • Ensures that suppliers give thought to how they can support the development and implementation of their proposal that would contribute to equitable access and outcomes, for Māori, Pacific, disabled, and other populations who are experiencing inequitable health outcomes.

There is no certainty about the outcome of an RFP process. The result of any procurement activity depends on the bids received and the amount of available funding from within our fixed budget.

How we manage our fixed budget

RFP preparation

Planning an RFP is essential to ensure we get the best outcome for the community. Getting the right information from our network of clinical experts, advocates, and consumers is vital to our planning. 

This will look different for every RFP. We use our existing networks to make sure we hear from the right people before opening the RFP for bids.

How we get advice

All RFPs are published on our website 

Any current RFPs and all our past RFPs are published on our website. Depending on the RFP, we might keep an RFP open for bids for a few weeks or a few months. 

What happens after an RFP closes?

Once an RFP closes, an evaluation committee meets to consider the proposals received. A committee is usually made up of Pharmac staff, clinical experts, and consumer representatives.

Pharmac will use information gathered during the evaluation, alongside the Factors for Consideration, to select preferred suppliers.

Once preferred suppliers are chosen, we follow usual funding process and consult with the public. Consulting gives all New Zealanders a chance to review our proposal.

Consultations and Decisions

Your feedback can help us improve our proposal. We will often change our final proposal based on feedback from this stage.

The Pharmac Board will then consider all consultation feedback along with the proposal and decide on the outcome.

The Pharmac Board

Once a decision is made, our team will ensure there are measures in place to support any changes that result from this process. For example, organising education resources that outline next steps for clinicians and consumers.

How long will it take?

Pharmac understands people would like to know how long this procurement process will take. However, every RFP is different, and some will take longer than others. We do our best to keep people informed. 

Who to contact

If you have questions about this page or Pharmac's procurement processes, email