2018-12-12 Research projects

OIA response

10 December 2018

[Name redacted]

Via email: [Email redacted]


Dear [Name redacted]


Thank you for your request dated 9 November 2018 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to research projects. You asked for information on research projects PHARMAC has funded or contributed financially to, from the year 2000 to date. You further refined your request on 16 November 2018 to limit it to the following specific research topics:

  1. Venlafaxine in any form/brand
  2. Placebo/Nocebo Effects
  3. Research on patient behaviours regarding medications
  4. Bioequivalency and bioavailability
  5. Adverse reactions to medication, brand or generic
  6. Psychoactive medication and anti-depressants
  7. Prescribing habits of Health Professionals e.g. Doctors, Psychiatrists

Please find attached a table setting out the information requested. We have included research completed by external organisations that we “funded or contributed financially to” as per your request. We have interpreted your request as not including research undertaken by PHARMAC staff as part of their normal role, or where staff have supported or contributed in non-financial ways.

We have made all reasonable efforts to locate all information relevant to your request, however, publication details for some research is unknown. Unfortunately, some of the information that was recorded on our old IT systems prior to 2008, is incomplete. The portion of your request relating to such information is therefore refused in reliance on section 18 (e) and (g) of the OIA (which relates documents and information which does not exist, cannot be found, or is not held).

PHARMAC’s statutory functions include engaging in research to meet our statutory objective and promoting the responsible use of medicines. Many research projects are commissioned to inform our work programmes, particularly in relation to responsible use of medicines, rather than to contribute to published academic research. Where you have asked for information about publication, we have indicated how we have shared the information, where there is a record of this. It is likely that reports may have been published or shared more widely than we have indicated.

Please note you have the right, by way of complaint under section 28(3) of the OIA to an Ombudsman, to seek an investigation and review of our decision.

We trust that the provision of this information answers your queries, if you have any further questions please feel free to contact us again.

Yours sincerely

[Alison Hill's signature]

Alison Hill

Director, Engagement and Implementation

Name of research Organisation conducting research People conducting the research Amount given to research project (excludes GST) Outcome of research Was research published If published, where was it published

Qualitative asthma research - Asthma Self-Management & the Responsible use of Inhaled Corticosteroids (2003)

Clemenger BBDO (State of Mind)

Jonathan Hales was key contact


Used to help inform and develop a consumer and health professional focused project on appropriate use of asthma medication/management.

Unknown. Research project included the delivery of the campaign as well which focused on improved asthma management with adults.


GP and practice Nurse research on antibiotic campaign impact (2006)

Research Solutions



Measured the efficiency of the campaign in reaching GPs and practice nurses and evaluated the effectiveness of the campaign in communicating the core messages.

Report prepared: Evaluation of the Wise Use of Antibiotics Campaign. Unknown if published.


Polypharmacy feasibility study (systemic literature review) 2006

(Comprehensive Pharmaceutical Solutions)

Linda Bryant and John Dunlop


Report that helped to inform what, if any, activities PHARMAC and the health sector could/should focus on in relation to addressing the issue of Polypharmacy.

No – but the report that was developed by PHARMAC from it was.

Literature review contributed toward a PhD thesis for the author.

Shared with all District Health Boards

The investigation of use of antipsychotic medication by Māori Tangata Whaiora in Aotearoa – A Tangata Whaiora Perspective (2006)

Yesterday Today & Tomorrow Ltd


Literature review of utilization and uptake of antipsychotic medicines by Māori Tangata Whaiora.



PPI market research 2006



Focus group research to test whether statements around use or prescribing of Losec had relevance and resonance with the market.

Unknown. Used to inform campaign to reduce useage.


Childhood Asthma management with GPs (2006)

Research Solutions

Jonathan Dodd was key contact


Identify barriers to identification and treatment of childhood asthma by GPs, sources of information; level of confidence

Report prepared, unknown if published.


Management of depression by GPs (2006)

Research Solutions

Jonathan Dodd was key contact


Identify barriers to identification and treatment of depression by GPs; level of confidence in providing advice and treatment for depression; sources of information; basis for selection of pharmaceutical treatments; use of non-pharmacological interventions

Report prepared. Shared with Ministry of Health. Unknown if published.


Childhood Asthma caregiver research (2007)

Research Solutions

Jonathan Dodd was the key contact


Focus groups, including Māori and Pacific caregivers of children under 6 years with asthma. To understand current asthma medicine usage, knowledge and attitudes, and to develop strategies to promote better management.

Unknown. Used to inform activities to support appropriate asthma management in pre-school children.


Awareness, use of, and change of prescribing behaviour following use of PHARMAC diabetes resources (2007)

Research Solutions

Jonathan Dodd was key contact


Evaluated the effectiveness and usefulness of PHARMAC’s printed diabetes resources. Surveyed GPs and practice nurses.



Wise use of antibiotics – student survey (2007)

Colmar Brunton



Feedback from the survey helped to determine the key focus, and messages, of the Wise Use of Antibiotics campaign during the winter months



Gut Reaction evaluation

Colmar Brunton



Surveyed GPs and pharmacists to establish the level of awareness of the Gut Reaction campaign. The Gut Reaction campaign promoted evidence-based practice and decreasing inappropriate prescribing of proton pump inhibitors.

Unknown. Article for NZ Pharmacy Journal on the Gut Reaction Campaign includes reference to the survey. Not clear if/when published.


Optimal use of antipsychotics in dementia (2008)




Development, implementation and audit/review of effectiveness of a programme to support the optimal use of antipsychotic medicines to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.


https://bpac.org.nz/BPJ/2010/March/antipsychotics.aspx(external link)

Market research about medication brand changes (2008)

Colmar Brunton

Karen Newton was key contact


Questionnaire with prescribers, practice nurses and pharmacists to identify areas of concern in relation to PHARMAC’s management of medication brand changes.

Interviews with prescribers, practice nurses, pharmacists and consumers to further explore areas identified in the survey.

Report prepared. Unknown if published.


Consumer generic medicine survey (2009)

Colmar Brunton

Ian Binnie was the key contact


Online questionnaire and final report outlining consumer awareness, attitude and acceptance of generic medicines – those who have experienced a brand switch and those who have not.

Utilised for internal planning purposes.  Results were presented at various conferences during 2009 and 2010. We released an article to media for use in community newspapers.


Salbutamol inhaler study (2008/2009)

Massey University

Felix Ram


Postal questionnaire looked at the acceptability and preference by community pharmacists of a newly introduced salbutamol inhaler brand.

Report prepared for publication. Summary report provided to participants.


Consumer generic medicine focus groups (2009)

Colmar Brunton

Ian Binnie was key contact


Focus groups, and final report outlining the awareness, attitude and acceptance of generic medicines by Māori and Pacific consumers and their whānau/fanau, and understanding of PHARMAC

Utilised for internal planning purposes.


Evaluation of consumer generic medicine pilot (2010)

Colmar Brunton

Ian Binnie was key contact


Pre-testing of pilot campaign visuals.

Report on the effectiveness of the pilot campaign activities

Utilised for internal PHARMAC planning purposes.


Older New Zealanders and antipsycholtic medications knowledge project: Understanding current prescribing practice (2011)


Matthew Croucher

Susan Gee

Sires Bharathan

Franziska Gallrach


An understanding of the determinants behind what is being prescribed for older adults to assist in PHARMAC planning for future work.

Report prepared. Unknown if published.


Monitoring the Wise Use of Antibiotics Campaign (2000 – 2011)

Colmar Brunton

Various researchers within Colmar Brunton over this time

$118,750 (this total is from March 2007 – June 2011)

Research assessed effectiveness of the Wise Use of Antibiotics campaign activities, particularly relating to people’s expectations for receiving a prescription for antibiotics for winter colds and flu

Reports prepared for internal PHARMAC monitoring purposes.


Psychological influences on the efficacy and side-effects associated with generic medicines (2013)

Auckland University

Dr Keith Petrie


Range of research looking at psychological influences on the efficacy and side-effects associated with generic medicines.

Yes – articles that have been produced have been published.

See list, Auckland University published articles, following this table.

Generic medicines (extension)

Auckland University

Dr Keith Petrie


Extension of 2013 agreement to cover further research topics around psychological influences on the efficacy and side-effects associated with generic medicines.

Included biosimilars.

HRC-PHARMAC partnership (2016)

Using Improving acceptance of generic medicines

Auckland University

Dr Keith Petrie


Not complete. More information on the HRC website:



HRC-PHARMAC partnership (2016)

Improving metformin adherence and persistence in people with type 2 diabetes

University of Otago

Dr Lianne Parkin


Not complete. More information on the HRC website:



HRC-PHARMAC partnership (2018) A Decision aid to incorporate patient preferences into biologic therapies

University of Otago

Prof Carlo Marra


Not complete. More information on the HRC website:



Auckland University published articles:

Dalbeth, N., Douglas, M., MacKrill, K., Te Karu, L., Kleinstauber, M., Petrie, K.J. (in submission). The effect of renaming ‘gout’ to ‘urate crystal arthritis’ on illness and treatment perceptions in Māori (Indigenous New Zealanders).

Kleinstäuber, M., MacKrill, K., & Petrie, K.J. (2018). What characterizes individuals who prefer branded innovator over generic medicines? A New Zealand general population survey. Drugs & Therapy Perspectives, 34, 478-483.doi:10.1007/s40267-018-0541-z

Dalbeth, N., & Petrie, K.J. (2018). It’s time to change the name of gout. BMJ Opinion. Feb 5.

Petrie, K.J., MacKrill, K., Derksen, C., & Dalbeth, N. (2018).  An illness by any other name: The effect of renaming gout on illness and treatment perceptions. Health Psychology, 37,37-41. doi: 10.1037/hea0000548

Faasse, K., Yeom, B., Parkes, B., Kearney, J., & Petrie, K.J. (2018). The influence of social modeling, gender and empathy on side effects. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52, 560-570. doi: 10.1093/abm/kax025.

Faasse, K., Pereira, A., Loveys, K., Grey, A., & Petrie, K.J. (2017). Enhancing treatment effectiveness through social modelling: A pilot study. Psychology and Health, 32, 626-638. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2017.1293056

Faasse, K., & Petrie, K.J. (2016). From me to you: The effect of social modelling on treatment outcomes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25, 438-443. doi: 10.1177/0963721416657316

Colgan, S.L.E., Faasse, K., Pereira, J,A., Grey, A., & Petrie, K.J. (2016). Changing perceptions and efficacy of generic medicines: An intervention study.  Health Psychology, 35, 1246-1253.doi:10.1037/hea0000402

Bartley, H., Faasse, K., Horne, R., & Petrie, K.J. (2016).You can’t always get what you want: The influence of choice on nocebo and placebo responding. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 50, 445-451. doi: 10.1007/s12160-016-9772-1

Faasse, K., Martin, L., Grey, A., Gamble, G., & Petrie, K.J. (2016).  The impact of brand or generic labelling on medication effectiveness and side effects. Health Psychology, 35, 187-190.

Colgan, S.L.E., Faasse, K., Martin, L.R., Stephens, M.H., Grey, A., & Petrie, K.J. (2015). Perceptions of generic medication in the general population, doctors and pharmacists: a systematic review. BMJ Open, 5:e008915 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008915

Faasse, K., Grey, A., Horne, R., & Petrie, K.J. (2015).  High perceived sensitivity to medicines is associated with higher medical care utilisation, increased symptom reporting and a greater reporting of unusual symptoms. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 24, 592-9.doi: 10.1002/pds.3751

Faasse, K., Grey, A., Jordan, R., Garland, S., & Petrie, K.J. (2015). Seeing is believing: Impact of the social modelling on placebo and nocebo responding.  Health Psychology, 34, 880-885. doi:10.1037/hea0000199

Tan, K., Petrie, K.J., Faasse, K., Bollard, M., & Grey, A. (2014). Unhelpful advice on adverse drug reactions. BMJ, 349, g5019. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g5019

Petrie, K.J., Faasse, K., Crichton, F., & Grey, A. (2014). How common are symptoms? Evidence from a New Zealand national telephone survey.  BMJ Open, 4:e005374. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005374