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Medicines access programs to cancer medicines in Australia and New Zealand: An exploratory study

Piyush Grover, Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar, Raoul Oehmen and Agnes Vitry

Health Policy, 2018, vol. 122, issue 3, 243-249

Abstract: Medicines Access Programs (MAP) offer access to publicly unfunded medicines at the discretion of pharmaceutical companies. Limited literature is available on their extent and scope in Australia and New Zealand. This study aims to identify MAPs for cancer medicines that were operational in 2014-15 in Australia and New Zealand and describe their characteristics. A preliminary list of MAPs was sent to hospital pharmacists in Australia and New Zealand to validate and collect further information. Pharmaceutical companies were contacted directly to provide information regarding MAPs offered. Key stakeholders were interviewed to identify issues with MAPs. Fifty-one MAPs were identified covering a range of indications. The majority of MAPs were provided free of charge to the patient for medicines that were registered or in the process of being registered but were not funded. Variability in the number of MAPs across institutions and characteristics was observed. Australia offered more MAPs than New Zealand. Only two of 17 pharmaceutical companies contacted agreed to provide information on their MAPs. Eight stakeholder interviews were conducted. This identified that while MAPs are widely operational there is lack of clinical monitoring, inequity to access, operational issues and lack of transparency. Our results suggest a need for a standardised and mandated policy to mitigate issues with MAPs.

Keywords: Pharmaceutical policy; Compassionate use; Cancer medicines; Medicines access programs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:122:y:2018:i:3:p:243-249