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Pharmaceuticals get funding path to 2007

Media release

Pharmaceuticals get funding path to 2007

A three-year funding path for pharmaceuticals will enable more people to access new medicines, and for investment decisions to be made with greater certainty, says PHARMAC Chief Executive Wayne McNee.

Increases in expenditure will see even more people getting pharmaceuticals.

Minister of Health Annette King has agreed to a funding path that sets yearly indicative pharmaceutical budget targets for the next three years, the result of advice from both PHARMAC and District Health Boards. The targets are (with previous and current years):

Year to June Pharmaceutical Budget
2002-03 $513 million (actual expenditure)
2003-04 $541 million
2004-05 $565 million
2005-06 $568 million
2006-07 $579 million

Wayne McNee says the increases in spending over the next three years will allow for the expected growth in pharmaceutical dispensing volumes, and give continued scope for more people to access new pharmaceuticals.

Increasing the spend on pharmaceuticals reinforces the commitment to fund more and new medicines to benefit New Zealanders, Wayne McNee says. In the past six months, PHARMAC has demonstrated this commitment by funding new treatments for childhood arthritis (etanercept), hepatitis C (pegylated interferon with ribavirin), HIV/AIDS (Kaletra), alcohol addiction (naltrexone), raised cholesterol (ezetemibe) and diabetes (pioglitazone. Further new investments are planned.

The volume of pharmaceuticals is expected to rise as more people gain access to lower dispensing co-payments through the establishment of Primary Healthcare Organisations.

“We know that the cost of co-payments can be a reason some people don’t pick up their prescriptions, so lowering this barrier is likely to see more people getting their medicine and volumes rising as a result,” Wayne McNee says. “This is good news as we would expect people’s health to improve through them obtaining their prescriptions.”

Bay of Plenty DHB Chief Executive Ron Dunham, speaking on behalf of all District Health Boards, says DHBs are pleased to agree to the three-year funding pathway which indicates a continuing commitment to giving people better access to pharmaceuticals.

“Ensuring more people get access to primary healthcare is a focus for DHBs, and helping more people obtain pharmaceuticals by both lowering co-payments and increasing the funding for medicines, is an important way to achieve this,” Ron Dunham says.

The agreement between PHARMAC and DHBs includes regular reviews that will ensure the medicines budget continues to reflect health spending priorities.
Wayne McNee adds: “This level of new spending sends a strong signal that we are committed to investing in New Zealanders’ health through pharmaceuticals.”

“Having a three-year funding path will enable us to make spending decisions with greater certainty and provide even more New Zealanders with access to medicines.”

“And that’s got to be a way to improve New Zealanders’ health.”


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