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Private Purchase Medicines Proving Popular Choice

Private Purchase Medicines Proving A Popular Choice Among New Zealanders

The demand for private purchase medicines is on the increase with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) estimating that patients spent $60 to $70 million on all available private purchase medicines during 2004.

According to GSK, this represents an increase in sales of private purchase medicines of about six percent from 2003 to 2004.

Private purchase medicines are those prescription medicines that are not subsidised by the government (through Pharmac), but patients can choose to pay for if they wish.

While the government has allocated $565 million for Pharmac to subsidise medicines this year, this is insufficient to subsidise many of the new and innovative medicines that are widely available in other countries. When Pharmac has been able to subsidise a new medicine, the restrictions around eligibility for that medicine mean that only a small portion of those who could benefit from it actually qualify for subsidised access.

Many governments around the world are faced with a similar challenge of meeting ever increasing public health expectations within a limited budget. As a result, difficult decisions have to be made about which prescription medicines are subsidised.

“In the absence of any change in the ability of Pharmac to broadly fund new medicines, the availability of private purchase medicines alongside government subsidised medicines is essential to ensure New Zealanders have access to innovative medicines that are available elsewhere in the world. Without a private market, medicines that are not subsidised by government would not be available in New Zealand at all,” said Lisa Bright, Vice President and Managing Director at GSK.

“Opting for private purchase medicines is no different than choosing to have an operation like a hip replacement done privately. Although there is a cost involved, many people are prepared to pay if they can achieve a better health outcome.”

Private purchase medicines are available in New Zealand for a range of conditions including type 2 diabetes, parkinson’s disease, asthma, alzheimer’s disease, depression, erectile dysfunction, eczema, osteoporosis, smoking cessation, alopecia, pain and malaria prevention and treatment.

“It is important to know all of your options when it comes to your health. We encourage New Zealanders to consult with their doctor about all of their treatment options – both subsidised and private – so they can choose the medicine that will provide them with the best possible health outcome.”

Notes to Editors

About GSK

GSK New Zealand is a research and development-based pharmaceutical company that invests approximately $6.7 million per year in New Zealand on the research and development of new medicines. GSK is committed to developing innovative new medicines and vaccines that help New Zealanders do more, feel better and live longer. GSK believes patients have a right to know all of their treatment options in consultation with their doctor, including the availability of both state subsidised and private purchase prescription medicines.

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