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Price competition saves drug money

Media Release

Price competition saves drug money

PHARMAC says a vigorous competitive market in New Zealand has halved the price of a costly anti-ulcer drug over the past three years.

Chief Executive Officer Wayne McNee says the supplier of pantoprazole (Somac) has just reduced its price to the newly agreed price of its competitor omeprazole (Losec).

The drugs, called proton pump inhibitors, are used to treat severe acid stomach problems.

“These drugs are still costly, but competitive pressures mean the taxpayer will now pay $1 a day per patient for them instead of the $2 a day in 1998.”

Earlier this month pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca reached an agreement with PHARMAC, which lowered the price of omeprazole and it regained its status as a fully subsidised medicine.

Now Pharmacia, the supplier of pantoprazole, has matched the lower price.

Wayne McNee says the result is very good news for patients, doctors and the taxpayer.

“Patients have always had access to an effective fully funded treatment, but these latest agreements will give them a choice.”

[ends]

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