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Drugs Bill To Take Another Dive With Tender

Media Release

Drugs bill to take another dive with PHARMAC tender

PHARMAC is expecting to free up another $13 to $17 million a year for health spending following its new tender round for the supply of 86 drugs.

The drugs are older off-patent ones used to treat a wide range of conditions and illnesses -- from vitamins to sex hormones. Because the drugs are off-patent it means that less expensive generic drugs can offer competitive prices. The tender is part of an ongoing initiative by PHARMAC to reduce the price of generic drugs.

PHARMAC General Manager Wayne McNee says in the past New Zealand has been paying high prices for generics and PHARMAC has been working to get a better deal for the taxpayer.

Wayne McNee says the savings made in this area can then be redirected into other drugs, such as funding announced in the last few weeks for alendronate for severe osteoporosis and for the multiple sclerosis drug beta-interferon.

“So far tendering for sole supply has brought us savings of about $26 million which is all money which goes back into providing health care for New Zealanders.”

Tendering the common painkiller paracetamol for example, has led to a price drop of more than 50 per cent for taxpayers.

Wayne McNee says the tendering process for older and more common products means New Zealand is now getting value for money for its generic drugs.

Of the 86 drugs, some have more than one form such as liquid and tablets, so the total number of products included in the tender round is 183.

The tender will close in March.

[Ends]

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