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Spending on target, patient numbers growing

Spending on target, patient numbers growing

Nearly 7000 people were treated with newly-subsidised medicines as a result of funding decisions made in the 2004-2005 year, figures released today by Government drug funder PHARMAC show.

PHARMAC’s 2005 Annual Review details nine new products added to the Pharmaceutical Schedule, and 16 previously subsidised products which had their access widened.

Pharmaceutical expenditure for the year was $564.6 million, within the budgeted $565 million.

Chief Executive Wayne McNee says this was an outstanding result.

“The pharmaceutical budget is spread across all 21 DHBs and is not an easy target to hit, so to come within $400,000 is an excellent result,” he says.

“The 25 new spending decisions underline PHARMAC’s focus on investing in medicines which improve the health of New Zealanders. Our analysis shows that these decisions provided access to subsidised medicines for a further 6700 New Zealanders during the year.”

“This is a number that will continue to increase in future years and adds to the growing number of New Zealanders who are gaining access to subsidised medicines.”

New investments included treatments for raised cholesterol (ezetimibe), respiratory disease (tiotropium), HIV/AIDS (lopinavir with ritonavir), severe pain (fentanyl patches), and diabetes (pioglitazone, blood glucose test meters).

In addition to these new investment decisions, PHARMAC widened access to treatments for patients who had heart failure (candesartan), breast cancer (letrozole), nausea from cancer treatments (hyoscine, ondansetron, tropisetron), hepatitis B and C (lamivudine, pegylated interferon), and mental illness (olanzapine and quetiapine for bipolar disease, citalopram for depression).

Wayne McNee says the two largest investments for the year were the listing of tiotropium ($33 million over five years), and the widening of access to pegylated interferon for hepatitis C. In the case of tiotropium part of this investment will be offset by savings in other areas of healthcare, such as hospitalisations.

[ends]

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