Medicines standardised across hospitals

Last updated 11:12 01/07/2013

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A new uniform hospital medication list will mean patients will have access to the same medication, no matter where they are in the country.

The list, which came into effect in all District Health Board areas today, would ensure no patient would miss out on certain drugs because they were in a different hospital.

Pharmac chief executive Steffan Crausaz, said the list was a major milestone in improving patient treatment.

The Hospital Medicines List, managed by national drug purchaser Pharmac, will be used by all DHB prescribers.

Publication of a uniform list comes after a recommendation from a 2010 Ministerial Review Group, which expressed concern over "postcode prescribing" - where some medicines were available in some DHBs but not others.

One of the drugs in question was infliximab, a biologic agent, for use in treating inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions.

The list means patients with similar clinical circumstances should have equal access to this no matter where they are in the country.

Pharmac will  manage applications for new products to be added to the list. It already does this for hospital cancer treatments on behalf of DHBs.

Crausaz said the introduction of the list will be the start of a transition for hospital prescribers.

"If clinicians want to use a medicine to treat a patient that isn't included in the HML they can apply to Pharmac for an exception or to have the drug added.

"To ensure clinical safety, if an urgent treatment decision is needed, DHBs can make that decision themselves..."

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