PHARMAC welcomes appointments to clinical committee

Media release

PHARMAC medical director Dr John Wyeth is welcoming the appointment of a new Chair and two new members to the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC).

PTAC is a statutory committee that provides clinical input to PHARMAC. It reviews clinical evidence around Pharmaceutical Schedule funding applications and provides recommendations to PHARMAC. Members are appointed by the Director-General of the Ministry of Health.

Professor Mark Weatherall has been appointed as the incoming Chair of the Committee effective 1 November 2015. He will succeed Wellington general physician Sisira Jayathissa whose term on the Committee is coming to an end.

Prof Weatherall, a specialist geriatrician, has been a member of PTAC since October 2008.

“PHARMAC continues to place high importance on the advice provided by PTAC and we are grateful for the leadership shown by Dr Jayathissa,” says Dr Wyeth. “With PHARMAC’s expanding role there has been growth in the number of PTAC subcommittees and this has been very effectively accommodated under Dr Jayathissa’s leadership.”

PTAC now has 21 expert subcommittees in specialist areas such as rheumatology, mental health, cancer and neurology.

Joining PTAC from 1 November 2015 will be Dr Giles Newton-Howes, a Wellington-based psychiatrist, and Associate Professor Alan Fraser, a general physician and gastroenterologist from Auckland.

Dr Newton-Howes is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago in Wellington.  He has served as a medical member of an ethics committee and acts as a systematic reviews editor for the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Assoc Prof Fraser is an established academic teacher, researcher and editor of international journals.  Assoc Prof Fraser has broad experience working with both PHARMAC and Ministry of Health, and has been a member of PTAC’s Gastrointestinal Subcommittee since 2008.