Communications and documents about proposal to amend Schedule Rules for Class B controlled drugs (part 2)

OIA response

This is a final response to your request dated 13 February 2023 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to the proposal to amend the Pharmaceutical Schedule (“Schedule”) Rules on prescribing and dispensing of Class B controlled drugs. For ease of reference, I have again included the numbered points of your request below. You requested: 

Consultation process

Can you… please provide: 

  1. All consultation feedback received by Pharmac to the proposal
  2. All documentation and messages regarding the assessment and consideration of the feedback by Pharmac, particularly the criteria used to assess any changes to the proposal
  3. All documentation about how Pharmac conducts consultation processes, and all documentation about how it was followed in this case
  4. All documents and messages between Pharmac and MoH regarding the amendments to the Pharmaceutical Schedule Rules on prescribing and dispensing of Class B controlled drugs, irrespective of whether they formed part of the consultation process or not.

    Impact on the ADHD community
  5. All cost/benefit assessments conducted into the impact of the delays to the Rules
  6. All information about how the benefits to communities from changes to the Rules are balanced against the regulatory factors cited by MoH in their request for delay.

    Frustration of the intent of Parliament
  7. All documents showing the legislative authority of Pharmac to further consult on the Rules despite the consultation on the Regulations being completed and the Regulations made
  8. All documents describing the justification or rationale for consulting on the changes to the Rules, despite the process hurdles this would create.

    Further, in the consultation material it was claimed by Pharmac that the changes could not be put in place any sooner than February 2023 because of necessary “system and process changes”. Can you therefore please provide: 
  9. All documents describing the system and process changes
  10. All planning and project management documents showing the timelines for their implementation
  11. All documents showing why the system and process changes had not been completed in a timely fashion so that the necessary changes were available when the Regulations took effect. 

Summary of our responses to your request for information

On 22 February 2023, in response to part 1 of your request, we provided you access to a downloadable copy of all consultation feedback related to the proposal. 

In the letter to you of 13 March 2023, we extended the due date for our response to 12 April 2023. This was because your request was for a large amount of information which necessitated substantial research and collation. Normally, we would consider declining a request of this size under section 18(f) of the OIA as fulfilling the request would cause undue administrative burden to Pharmac. Pharmac is a small organisation, with a small team dedicated to responding to OIA requests. However, we are committed to achieving greater transparency with the public and understand that the OIA is one way this can be facilitated. In this instance, we decided that extending the time limit under section 15A of the OIA would assist us to make a decision on fulfilling your request. 

In the letter of 12 April 2023, we provided contextual information to address the concerns you raised in your original correspondence. We advised that we do not hold documents or information related to parts 5 and 6 of your request (therefore declined under section 18(e) and 18(g) of the OIA) and communicated our decision to release documents related to the remaining parts of your request at a later date (Friday 14 April 2023), as allowed under the OIA (see Releasing information in response to a request(external link)). 

…when the request is for a large amount of information… the information may be provided to the requester at a later stage, after the decision has been made and communicated.[1] 

I trust the above provides clarity regarding our need for more time to make a decision and respond to your request for information. 

Additional documents released in response to your request for information

We have now finished preparing the documents related to parts 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 of your request for release. 

We have prepared two PDFs of combined documents for release in response to your request for information. Due to the size of these documents, they will be made available to you via Objective Connect (the same system as used for providing access to the downloadable copy of all consultation feedback related to the proposal) following delivery of this letter. 

As a reminder, in deciding to release these documents to you, we have redacted a small amount of information where it is not related to your request (i.e., out of scope) or where 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 organisation in the course of their duty (section 9(2)(g)(i); or
  • enable us to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations, including commercial negotiations (section 9(2)(j)). 


I trust that the information and documents we have provided resolve your request for information. 

As you are aware, you have the right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman about our response to your OIA, under section 28(3) of the OIA. Details of how to make a complaint(external link) are on the Ombudsman’s website.


[1] Office of the Ombudsman | Tari o te Kaitiaki Mana Tangata. (2019), Guide: The OIA for Ministers and agencies(external link) August 2019