Media Release

Value of Medicines Award Winner Announced

By Dr Lee Mathias
9 Oct 2013

Medicines New Zealand is delighted to announce that Dr Conroy Wong has won the $20,000 Value of Medicines Award for his excellent clinical research that will benefit patients with bronchiectasis. Dr Wong is the clinical head of respiratory medicine at Middlemore Hospital, a respiratory physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland.

The award will be presented by Hon Todd McClay, Associate Minister of Health, at the Medicines New Zealand, Medicines Transform Lives Conference being held in Auckland on 9 October.

The Value of Medicines Award encourages and showcases innovative research projects that have the potential to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders, through the use of medicines or vaccines.

"The $20,000 award aims to stimulate research that improves the understanding , effectiveness or safety of the use of medicines or vaccines", Medicines New Zealand , General Manager, Kevin Sheehy says.

The reason Dr Wong's research enhanced the value of medicines in New Zealand was that his study found for the first time that azithromycin is an effective treatment for bronchiectasis, a debilitating disorder with few evidence based treatments. It evaluated clinically important end points and in particular assessed the effect on pulmonary exacerbations. We believe that this research, published in the Lancet, will have a very strong impact on improving treatment of patients with bronchiectasis.

The study also evaluated the adverse effects of azithromycin and found that it was generally safe and well tolerated.

Professor John Shaw at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Auckland was one of the judges for the award and says that, "Applications included a wide range of studies demonstrating the value of medicines from pre-clinical development studies through to studies demonstrating real clinical benefits and outcomes. This made the task of judging difficult and several of the applicants were in serious contention for the award. I would like to thank all of the applicants for the quality of their applications."

"This is the third year that the Value of Medicines Award has run and each year we have seen an increase in the number of applications and their calibre. We encourage all researchers working in the medicines area to start thinking about a possible entry for next year. This is an opportunity not to be missed", says Kevin Sheehy.


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