PHARMAC expands into new medical device category

Media release Hospital devices

DHBs are expected to start making further savings in cardiac medical devices, after PHARMAC extended the range of products it already has under national contracts by beginning listing those used in cardiac procedures.

The 303 items now listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule are the first in what is expected to be a large number of interventional cardiology medical devices available at national prices.

The agreement with Bio-Excel includes equipment such as stents and balloons and offers DHBs initial savings of about $150,000 from current national expenditure of about $1.2 million.

Following discussions with the Cardiac Society and a Registration of Interest process earlier this year, PHARMAC sought proposals from suppliers, and this is the first agreement reached with a supplier in the interventional cardiology category.     

Director of Operations, Sarah Fitt, says PHARMAC’s contracting in the medical device area is increasing quickly and highlights its drive to create value for DHBs.

“We’ve already put in place nine other national agreements across the categories of wound care, sutures and laparoscopic equipment, and this move into interventional cardiology devices means we are now able to offer DHBs over $2 million in savings if they take up these opportunities,” Sarah Fitt says.

“We’ve now got over 5000 medical devices under contract covering national expenditure of about $35 million and our activity in this space is increasing all the time. We’re looking to expand the number of contracts available in the current categories, while also seeking agreements with suppliers in other areas, such as devices used in trauma surgery.”

PHARMAC is currently consulting on a proposal to list a further 630 interventional cardiology devices supplied by Medtronic, offering potential savings of another $200,000 to DHBs.

PHARMAC is aiming to get nationally consistent lower prices, and reduce future pricing pressures, on items that many DHBs are already using.

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