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PHARMAC releases Australia vs NZ comparison

Media release

PHARMAC releases data on Australia vs NZ comparison

PHARMAC has released its data on comparisons between medicines subsidised in New Zealand and Australia.

In response to comments on the comparison, PHARMAC has issued a spreadsheet on its website

In summary, the spreadsheet shows that New Zealand has more funded chemicals or formulations of the same chemical with distinctly different uses (e.g. ketoconazole tablets vs ketoconazole shampoo). New Zealand has 717 and Australia 655.

The comparison is summarised in the following table:

NZ unique Australia unique Shared Overlap
Chemicals 267 217 416 46%
Chemical/formulation (use) 280 218 437 47%
Brand 1042 1897 617 17%

PHARMAC chief executive Wayne McNee says the reason that numbers are different to those issued by the Researched Medicines Industry Association appears to be because of the different products included or excluded from each list. For example, the RMI analysis includes all pharmaceutical cancer treatments used in hospitals; PHARMAC’s excludes those not listed in the community Pharmaceutical Schedule.

“We are comfortable with the numbers produced in our analysis, and which we have provided to the Minister of Health,” comments Wayne McNee. “To be more transparent about what we are saying, we are happy to release this information to the public.”

Wayne McNee says more brands of pharmaceuticals are funded in Australia, because more than one brand of the same off-patent medicine is often funded. In New Zealand, PHARMAC tenders for one supplier and uses price competition to obtain the best price for off-patent (generic) medicines.


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