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New PHARMAC and HRC partnership projects

Issue date:
Capsules and drug tray

Two researchers have been awarded grants dedicated to supporting innovative research that helps people get the best out of funded medicines.

The Health Research Council (HRC) in partnership with PHARMAC, announced today that research funding has been awarded to Dr Anna Howe and Dr Denise Taylor.

The research funding supports PHARMAC’s statutory objective of obtaining the best health outcomes from pharmaceutical funding and builds on the HRC’s investment to strengthen the use of research evidence to improve New Zealand’s health system.

Dr Anna Howe, from the University of Auckland, will spend the next 18 months researching 'Are children at high-risk of pneumococcal disease getting the protection they require?' and will receive $211,298.

Dr Denise Taylor, from Victoria University of Wellington, will spend the next 24 months researching 'From prescriptions to patients: identifying pharmaceutical information pathways' and will receive $213,750.

This funding is provided through the PHARMAC and HRC Research Partnership initiative.

Background to the research

Dr Anna Howe, the University of Auckland
Lay summary
Invasive pneumococcal disease causes significant morbidity and mortality, especially in the young and patients with underlying conditions. Conditions such as immunosuppression, splenic dysfunction, heart disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease, liver disease, organ transplant, diabetes, cochlear implants, or cerebrospinal fluid leaks may put individuals at higher risk or severity of infectious diseases. Therefore, we aim to evaluate the national pneumococcal immunisation schedule for children, under 19-years of age, considered to be at high-risk of invasive pneumococcal disease. A population-based retrospective cohort study will be undertaken using linked existing data. The outcomes of this study will help to maximise lifelong potential in all under 19-year olds, including those with chronic and congenital conditions. The understandings from this study will help inform actions to improve vaccination rates and inform schedule decisions to help prevent pneumococcal-related morbidity and mortality, and potentially reduce inequities experienced by children with chronic and congenital conditions.

Dr Denise Taylor, Victoria University of Wellington
Lay summary
Our research examines (1) what pharmaceutical knowledge general practitioners (GPs) use to prescribe treatments for patients; (2) how pharmacists mediate the pharmaceutical knowledge exchange between GPs and patients and; (3) how patients interpret pharmaceutical information and use medicines. Although these processes happen thousands of times every day, we do not have a good understanding of GPs’ and pharmacists’ decision-making processes about what medicines information to share with patients. We also need to know more about how GPs and pharmacists work together.

We will study this by observing pharmacists and GPs at work, noting what they do and how they explain it, and also interview them to learn about the reasoning behind their choices. Finally, we will interview patients about their pharmaceutical experiences. Then, we will link all our findings together to see what pathways medical information takes to reach patients, and how this may affect patients’ use of medicines.