Health Reform Patients

MTANZ WARNS OF IMPACT OF MEDICAL DEVICE REGULATION CHANGES ON PATIENTS

The Medical Technology Association of New Zealand (MTANZ) is warning that patients could bear the impact of proposed changes to the country’s medical device regulations, saying that the changes will deliver little benefit.

MTANZ CEO, Faye Sumner, said the “proposed Therapeutic Products Bill and the ongoing centralised procurement process by PHARMAC could have the joint effect of increasing the costs of medical devices and procedures while potentially reducing choice for the clinician and delaying access to life-saving, innovative medical technology.”

MTANZ has assured patients that medical devices used in New Zealand currently meet the highest quality standards both in New Zealand and internationally.

Currently, all devices entering New Zealand must be notified to the Government’s regulator, Medsafe. However, MTANZ argues that this will become a more complex registration process with associated costs, under the proposed NZ Therapeutic Products legislation replacing the Medicines Act 1981.

At the same time, PHARMAC is taking control of the procurement of medical devices supplied to the District Health Boards.

Ms Sumner says the New Zealand MedTech industry believes the proposed PHARMAC cost-based procurement system is not best suited to the procurement of medical devices.

“We propose a value-based procurement system that ensures clinicians have the autonomy and authority to acquire the right device for the right procedure. It is about treating a patient with the best possible device rather than the cheapest possible device.

“Our industry is very concerned at the multiplying effect of both significant changes being introduced in parallel and the potential disruption to the supply chain which could lead to the reduced availability of medical device products in the New Zealand market,” Ms Sumner said.

Ultimately the impact of both these changes will be felt by New Zealand patients.

These changes will no doubt be watched very closely by both the Australian MedTech companies and Private Health Insurers.

The Australian Private Health Insurance industry has been advocating for the introduction of a similar national procurement system here in Australia.

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