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NZers have access to wide range of new medicines

6 April 2005

NZers have access to wide range of new medicines – PHARMAC

New Zealanders continue to have access to a wide and expanding range of medicines and the list will continue to grow, PHARMAC Chief Executive Wayne McNee says.

Responding to comments by United Future leader Peter Dunne, Wayne McNee says PHARMAC has a rising budget which is being spent to ensure more New Zealanders get the medicines they need.

“This includes buying good value new medicines and expanding access to those which are already subsidised,” Wayne McNee says.

Wayne McNee says PHARMAC in fact funds most of the treatments outlined by Mr Dunne in Parliament yesterday.

“During 2004 we funded 15 new medicines and the list has continued to grow in the current year. For example, this year we have funded new treatments for severe pain, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and HIV/AIDS.”

“PHARMAC has a role to manage spending from within its budget, and it continues to successfully achieve this. We would also point out that targeting criteria are a common tool for managing spending in most developed countries, such as Australia, Canada and the UK. In this respect, New Zealand is no different.”

Wayne McNee adds that sole supply of off-patent medicines continues to be a policy which serves New Zealand well.

“Sole supply enables us to secure supply of drugs which might not otherwise be available,” he says. “It is also an effective cost-management tool and has saved over $200 million. This is important as the savings can be used to fund other medicines.”

Wayne McNee says out of stocks are a world-wide problem not limited to New Zealand, and it is wrong to claim sole supply is responsible for drugs being out of stock.

“We work with suppliers to ensure out of stocks are minimised, but in some cases the drug is on-patent so no alternative is available,” Wayne McNee says. “The sole supply contracts we have do give us some leeway to seek other suppliers and recover costs, and provide an incentive for the company to resolve the issues.”

ENDS

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