PHARMAC seeking input on hospital medical devices work

Media release Hospital devices

From cotton tips to MRI machines – a huge variety of medical devices are purchased by our hospitals to help diagnose and treat patients.

Now PHARMAC is seeking further input as it decides how to apply its existing approach to managing hospital medical devices.

The Government has asked PHARMAC to take over management of hospital medical devices on a national basis on behalf of DHBs, and PHARMAC has now begun consulting with the health sector and consumers about how it should do this.

The work will extend PHARMAC’s role from management of community pharmaceuticals and some community medical devices, and more recently vaccines and hospital medicines.

Acting Chief Executive Sarah Fitt says PHARMAC knows that a ‘one size fits all’ approach would not work for hospital medical devices and that work would need to be done on building different processes for applying its model to this area.

“In a variety of obvious and less obvious ways, we know that devices are different to pharmaceuticals.” she says. “Also, compared to many pharmaceuticals there is less clinical data available for some devices, to clearly determine how effective particular devices are. There are many different things to consider to make sure that the best device is available, for the best price, to ensure the best outcome for the patient.”

“The key to getting it right is to get input from those with specialist knowledge of hospital medical devices to help shape PHARMAC’s approach to this work.”

Sarah Fitt says the current consultation on hospital medical devices is broad, and builds on earlier work PHARMAC has done in asking hospital clinicians how they can provide input to the medical devices assessment process.

“There is a lot for PHARMAC to consider and there are things we don’t know yet. The quality of the devices and patient safety is critical and underpins our approach to this work, so we need to listen to the sector and consumer advice as we develop our framework.  This also relates to PHARMAC’s current review of all its Operating Policies and Procedures, including its Decision Criteria.”

PHARMAC has already begun some interim procurement projects for specific items (such as wound care products) for DHBs on a national basis.

PHARMAC intends to use the information gained from this consultation to form a proposal for how it will approach national management of hospital medical devices, and it will consult on this proposal in the first part of 2014.

Forums are being held in DHBs to discuss the consultation with interested groups, and submissions from anyone with particular knowledge or just a keen interest are welcome.

The consultation is open from 16 October until 29 November 2013.