WINTER HEALTH INITATIVE WELCOMED BUT ‘LOG JAM’ ON MEDICINE REGULATION AND SUPPLY MUST BE REMOVED – CHPNZ CHIEF
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association of New Zealand (CHPNZ) has welcomed the government’s Winter Preparedness Plan and its initiatives designed to improve access, efficiency and primary health care but also cautions that work is needed on the regulation and supply of medicines so they can be accessed by the thousands of New Zealanders who will most benefit from the Plan.
“This initiative is welcomed and can’t come soon enough,” says Executive Director of CHPNZ, Scott Milne
“Reducing barriers to access for a wide range of New Zealanders is a simple and highly effective way of reducing pressure on our GP’s and emergency rooms with safety mechanisms available through the expertise of primary healthcare health professionals.”
“It should also mean that the primary healthcare resource available in the community through the pharmacy network and the provision of over-the-counter medicines and services can finally be used to a fuller extent. The plan is both more cost-effective to deliver and more affordable for people needing health care and advice,” Scott Milne says.
However, says Milne, the regulation and supply of medicines in New Zealand is currently experiencing a ‘log jam’, overseen by the regulator Medsafe, that the government needs to urgently address.
“Medsafe continues to be experiencing the enormous pressure from the Covid pandemic, meaning extensive delays to the regulation of new and better medicines, both over the counter and prescription.
“For the Winter Preparedness Plan to be really successful in protecting and improving health, especially for the most vulnerable of New Zealanders, the government will need to increase Medsafe resources, especially as the 24 listed initiatives all require some or a large amount of regulatory oversight.
The CHPNZ hope that the Plan will also help raise the standard of health literacy across the community.
“Educating New Zealanders about the safe and appropriate use of all medicines, whether they be over the counter or prescription, and how they can access appropriate medical services should lead to a much more effective and value-for-money health system,” says Scott Milne.
“As a nation we need to start learning and this is done best locally.
“The announcement of this Plan is a start.”