Funding sanitary products`interesting question'

Pharmac would consider an application to fund sanitary products, but no-one has ever asked, the pharmaceutical purchasing agency says.

A recent event in Wellington highlighted a campaign to raise money for sanitary items because some young women are resorting to rags, telephone books, and newspaper.

Separately, the Otago University Students' Association has been offering subsidised sanitary products since the start of the year.

Pharmac acting chief executive Sarah Fitt said it was an "interesting question'' to consider whether sanitary products fitted the agency's brief.

"Pharmac has not previously considered the funding of personal hygiene products like sanitary pads.

"If we were to receive a funding application for such products, it would be an interesting question of whether they fall within the scope of products Pharmac would consider for funding or national contracting.

"Without doing the analysis, Pharmac is not in a position to determine this now, but would be open to consideration once an application was made,'' she said in response to questions from the Otago Daily Times.

Ms Fitt said the definition of "pharmaceutical'' was broad, and Pharmac funded many items other than medicine.

"The common link is that the products Pharmac is assessing or contracting for have a health or therapeutic effect that provides benefits for patients and/or the health system.''

The responses of Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse were less encouraging.

Dr Coleman's spokeswoman said people could access grants through the welfare system.

In response to a question about lifting GST from sanitary items, Mr Woodhouse's spokeswoman said New Zealand had a "world-leading'' system and it would not be changing.


Add a Comment