PHARMAC funding resources to focus on medicines access equity

Media release

PHARMAC is pleased to announce the launch of He Ako Hiringa, a clinical education provider with the mandate to support primary care clinicians address medicines access equity.

PHARMAC has funded education and resources to support health professionals in primary care for almost 20 years, as part of its legislative function to promote the responsible use of pharmaceuticals. He Ako Hiringa (the brand delivered by Matui Ltd) has been selected to provide this service for the next four years.

PHARMAC’s acting medical director Dr Ken Clark says, “not all New Zealanders are achieving the best health outcomes from publicly funded medicines. We don’t think this is acceptable, and we’re striving to eliminate inequities in access to medicines.

“We know health professionals have a big part to play in reducing inequities in access to healthcare in New Zealand.

“We have heard from those working in primary care that they would value further tools and resources that support them to achieve medicines access equity. It is fundamental that any educational resource funded by PHARMAC addresses medicines access equity, as well as promote the responsible use of pharmaceuticals.”

He Ako Hiringa are developing an interactive, online dashboard, named EPiC, that will allow clinicians to view and compare their prescribing data with their peers.  They will be able to see any gaps in their prescribing, reflect on prescribing behaviour and take action to improve medicine access equity for their patients.

As well as giving New Zealand’s healthcare professionals relevant up-to-date information on any new medicines funded, He Ako Hiringa resources will spotlight PHARMAC’s medicines access equity areas of focus: diabetes, respiratory health, gout and cardiovascular disease.  These conditions currently have the greatest gaps in equitable access and are also conditions most amenable to medicine interventions.

"He Ako Hiringa resources will support and enhance the primary care health workforce and advance PHARMAC’s goal of equity of access to medicines for our communities,” concludes Dr Clark.