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Drug Prices Down For Patients

New Zealanders will find a range of prescription drugs costing them less as a result of the latest tender round announced by PHARMAC today.

PHARMAC CEO Wayne McNee says so far this year tenders have been awarded on more than 70 pharmaceuticals, involving 39 chemicals and will bring estimated savings of $22.5 million over three years.

“A very positive outcome of these tender results is that 25 chemicals that previously had a manufacturers surcharge (part charge) will now be fully subsidised for the next three years.”

Some of the key results of the tender are a contraceptive injection which now becomes fully subsidised as well as three antibiotics, in particular one liquid for children.

Wayne McNee says PHARMAC is particularly pleased that a tender agreement has ensured that two pharmaceuticals used for the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure will remain fully subsidised for the next three years. The drugs are ACE Inhibitors enalapril and captopril.

He says that some New Zealanders taking ACE Inhibitors may notice that the drugs they are prescribed look a little different due to a change in brand.

“The same chemicals will be available but they might have different names. A doctor can prescribe by chemical name to ensure the patient receives their prescription fully funded.”

Wayne McNee says the cost savings achieved by PHARMAC for these drugs is a real success story for the taxpayer and the health system. It allows the savings made to be redistributed for the funding of other pharmaceuticals.

“One ACE Inhibitor, enalapril, will now cost 4 cents a day compared to the 90 cents a day it cost taxpayers just three years ago. ACE inhibitors used to cost the New Zealand taxpayer $70 million market – and that will drop to $7 million, even though the number of patients being treated has risen and is expected to continue to do so.”

Wayne McNee says these savings allow more spending on other drugs such as cholesterol lowering medication as well as other health care.

“PHARMAC is doing its job. It is making funds available for the health sector at the same time as ensuring New Zealanders continue to have access to the best possible range of drugs.”

[ends]

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