New fund set up to support research into medicines usage in NZ

Media release Medicines

Why do people not take all the medicine prescribed for them? Why are there differences in the way different people take their medicines? What social and cultural factors most influence medicines use in New Zealand?

These are the type of questions PHARMAC and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) hope will be answered through a newly established partnership and research fund.

The partnership makes more than $400,000 available to researchers looking at questions around pharmaceuticals and their use in New Zealand. Proposals for funding are currently being sought.

PHARMAC Chief Executive Steffan Crausaz says the fund is looking to answer questions that might not otherwise be asked.

“For example, we know that about 20 per cent of people on some diabetes medicines only pick up half of their prescriptions, but we don’t fully understand why,” says Steffan Crausaz. “We also know that reports of medicine side effects can go up following news reports of such effects. But is this leading people to report more, or does the placebo effect become enhanced?”

“We want people to get the full health benefits from their funded medicines, but we know this doesn’t always occur. There are gaps in our understanding and we hope the new research fund can help answer some important questions to improve health outcomes for patients.”

“Research proposals could include things like evaluating the real-world outcomes from taking medicine, identifying population differences in use of medicines, or investigating reasons why people don’t get the full benefits of medicines they take,” says Steffan Crausaz.

Conducting research is part of PHARMAC’s role and this is the first time PHARMAC has worked in partnership with the HRC, who are the experts in seeking and funding health research.

“We are excited about this new approach and confident it will attract good interest from New Zealand’s world-class health researchers.”

HRC Chief Executive Professor Kath McPherson says this is a great example of Government health organisations collaborating to benefit patients and the health system overall.

“One of our roles at the HRC is to help organisations do the best health research they can. We are ideally placed to facilitate better connections between expert researchers and agencies like PHARMAC,” says Professor McPherson.

“It’s great to see PHARMAC facilitating innovative research and this partnership will promote and engender a culture of scientific excellence to help get the best health outcomes from pharmaceutical funding.”