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International interest in PHARMAC model on rise

Media Release

International interest in PHARMAC model on the rise

More countries are looking at the New Zealand way of drug funding as they face blowouts in their own pharmaceutical bills.

In March, a delegation from the Belgian Senate visited to examine the New Zealand drug funding system, and looking at how it might be used in Belgium. In Belgium, where there has been considerable debate about “The Kiwi Model”, there has been particular interest in the way New Zealand tenders for sole supply of off-patent drugs.

The Senate committee met with Government officials and other interested groups, to get a better understanding of how PHARMAC’s funding works for New Zealanders.

And last week PHARMAC’s Chief Executive Wayne McNee attended a Symposium in Alberta, Canada on Innovation in Healthcare, at the invitation of the Albertan Minister of Health.

“Albertan officials and Canadian media were very impressed by the PHARMAC model,” Wayne McNee says. “In New Zealand, 80% of all medicines sold are funded by the Government at a cost of around $NZ700 million (including hospital medicines), for four million people. This compares with Alberta where less than 50% of medicines are funded, at a cost of over $1 billion, for only 3.2 million people.”

“Despite this high level of spending, most Albertans do not get funded access to medicines.”

Wayne McNee was extensively interviewed for radio, television and newspapers in Canada, with huge interest in the New Zealand model of pharmaceutical funding.

“In other countries there is a lot of concern about the impact high prices is having on health care, and the New Zealand experience is being looked to as an example of how things could be done better,” Wayne McNee adds. “PHARMAC is considered a world leader in the management of pharmaceutical funding, and this means that in New Zealand we don’t face the runaway cost increases that are considered normal in other countries.”

A Korean delegation is due to visit PHARMAC later in the year, also to understand better how New Zealand’s funding model for pharmaceuticals is managed. Previously, Australian, British, Czech, Japanese, and Chinese, amongst others, have visited New Zealand to meet with PHARMAC.


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