Pharmac has promoted operations director Sarah Fitt to the top job after chief executive Steffan Crausaz announced his exit for the private sector starting next year.
Fitt will take over the reins on Jan. 6, replacing Crausaz who is taking up a new role in the private sector after heading up the government drug-buying agency for more than six years and having worked at Pharmac for more than 14 years. Crausaz led the extension of Pharmac's scope into hospital medicines, vaccines, and medical devices, the agency said.
"When Pharmac does its job well more patients are able to benefit from medicines and health services that otherwise would not be available to them. It has been a privilege to have been given the opportunity to contribute to this goal," said Crausaz.
Fitt has more than five years' executive experience at Pharmac and brings a wealth of clinical and management experience to her role, said Pharmac chair Stuart McLauchlan.
“Sarah is one of the most outstanding clinical leaders in New Zealand. Her experience is going to be vital for the continuity of Pharmac and we wanted to ensure that we retained that talent," he said.
The news comes as the Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said the revamped Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership includes greater protection for Pharmac.
"The Pharmac model continues to be protected. Further improvements now achieved include suspension of patent extensions which could have increased the cost of medicine to the government," Parker said in a statement.
One of Labour's campaign promises was to fund Pharmac to get New Zealanders "the latest medicines quicker," arguing that the state agency had been underfunded under the previous government.
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