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Pharmac Blamed Of Depriving People of Lifesaving Drug

Two cardiologists accuse Pharmac of not properly funding the cholesterol lowering drugs to the new Zealanders. They published the report in the New Zealand medical //journal which they point out the shortsighted approach of the agency toward important drugs.

Cardiologists Dr Chris Ellis and Dr Harvey White said that the agency did not allocate funds for the statins for a period of 20 years.

Statins are drugs which help in the reduction of cholesterol levels and prevent heart problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Pharmac's policies have limited the access of statins to the patients who were in dire need of the drug. This has increased the number of people suffering from heart problems due to inaccessibility of the drug. Hence the cardiologists accuse the agency of patient neglect and public deceit.

The statins are very efficient in lowering the cholesterol levels by about 58%. The initial clinical trails conducted during1986 is a proof for the efficiency of the drug. Despite of its efficiency the drug was not made widely available to patients in New Zealand until 1997. After which only statins which showed no mortality and low beneficial outcomes were funded by the agency.

The report by the cardiologist therefore blames Pharmac for misrepresenting scientific data, ignoring evidence based medicine and restricting access to medicine with the help of bureaucratic hurdles. This has resulted in more harm and premature death to New Zealanders.

National's Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue said that the agency would have to alter its funding policy for the welfare of the people and also to attract more pharmaceutical companies.


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