Pharmaceutical budget bid and final budgets

OIA response

Request dated 7 May 2019 for information relating to pharmaceutical budget bids.

[Name and contact details redacted]

30 May 2019

Dear [Name redacted]


Thank you for your request dated 7 May 2019 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to pharmaceutical budget bids.  You asked for copies of the letter that went to the Minister of Health seeking approval of the pharmaceutical budget bid for years following the 2015/16 year and outlined as per below:

  • 2016/17
  • 2017/18
  • 2018/19
  • 2019/20

We attach the 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19 pharmaceutical budget bid approval letters to this response.

We are withholding the pharmaceutical budget bid approval letter for 2019/20 as this information is part of Government Budget 2019 considerations (in full) and is also commercially sensitive (in part). This document has been withheld under sections 9(2)(b)(ii); 9(2)(f); 9(2)(g); and 9(2)(j) of the OIA (more information about these grounds is set out below). Obviously, we would be pleased to re-assess the material in the future should you make another request.  We have also redacted a small amount of material from the documents that we are releasing to you in reliance on sections 9(2)(b)(ii); and 9(2)(j).

You also requested that we provide the final budgets of these years. This is provided below:


Final Budget (CPB)







You also requested that the budget be divided into the amounts spent on the CPB and Hospital medical devices separately. There is no national budget for medical devices; each DHB manages its own medical devices budget, so we are unable to provide this information to you.  Hospital medical devices are not funded from within the CPB which is administered by PHARMAC.

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 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));
  • maintain the constitutional conventions for the time being which protect the confidentiality of advice tendered by Ministers of the Crown and officials (section 9(2)(f)(iv));
  • 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);
  • 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 this information answers your queries.  We are making our information more freely available, so we will now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

Yours sincerely

[Alison Hill's signature]

Alison Hill
Director, Engagement and Implementation