Breast cancer treatments, rare disorders, venlafaxine

OIA response

Request dated 11 March 2019, for information relating to treatments for rare disorders, breast cancer treatment and venlafaxine. 

[Name and contact details redacted]

9 May 2019

Dear [Name redacted]


Thank you for your request dated 11 March 2019, under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to treatments for rare disorders, breast cancer treatment and venlafaxine. 

You requested:

  • A copy of a report to the Minister concerning PHARMAC’s work on medicines to treat rare disorders and any other written communications, including advice, emails and analysis, provided to the Minister of Health on this topic between 18 June 2018 and 11 March 2019.
  • A discussion paper noted at the Cancer Treatments Subcommittee of PTAC (CaTSoP) meeting held by PHARMAC on 21 September 2018.
  • A copy of the Auckland University study into the venlafaxine brand change as well as all other reports, analysis and reviews held by PHARMAC relating to the brand change, including any correspondence and performance reports provided to the Minister of Health relating to this issue.

We provided a number of these documents to you on 15 March 2019 in order to assist you in an interview. We have also included these documents in this OIA response.

For ease of use please see below headings that describe the documents included to address your OIA.

Rare disorders

Breast cancer


Please note that PHARMAC approaches its assessment of requests for information under the OIA on the basis that, once released, the information becomes publicly available - in other words once we release the information to you it becomes available to any other party in that exact form (whether by you distributing it to others or by virtue of us receiving the same request from a different third party).  We have redacted a small amount of information from the documents as we consider this is necessary to:

  • protect the privacy of natural persons (section 9(2)(a));
  • protect information where the making available of the information would be likely to unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information (section 9(2)(b)(ii));
  • protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence or which any person has been or could be compelled to provide under the authority of any enactment, where the making available of the information would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information, or information from the same source, and it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied (section 9(2)(ba)(i));
  • maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or between officers and employees of an organization in the course of their duty (section 9(2)(g)(i);
  • enable PHARMAC to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations, including commercial negotiations (section 9(2)(j));

As required under the OIA, we also considered whether, in the circumstances, the withholding of this information was outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable, in the public interest, to make this information available.  In this case we did not consider that the public interest outweighed the reasons for withholding the information.  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 these documents 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