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Ground-breaking report into drug accessibility

Embargoed untill 7pm Sunday 7th September

Ground-breaking report into drug accessibility

Calls for urgent action to raise NZ from bottom of OECD

The Collaborative Forum into High Cost, Highly Specialised medicines released its report today after a three-month examination of accessibility to medicines in New Zealand.

The forum is the first time a large cross-section of the industry have joined forces to push for greater accessibility to the specialist medicines including expensive drugs for arthritis, breast cancer and dementia.

Attendees were key health sector leaders including consumer organisations (such as the Cancer Society, Arthritis NZ and Alzheimers New Zealand etc), patients, pharmacists, clinicians, the NZ Medical Association, the RMI as the pharmaceutical industry representative, academics, officials from the Ministry of Health and PHARMAC, research organisations, plus health and strategic economists.

Sandra Kirby, CEO of Arthritis New Zealand said the release of the forum’s report was an important step in addressing the issue of new treatments which benefited targeted groups of patients.

“New Zealand has slipped behind comparible countries in access to specialist medicines, and this report gives some detailed recommendations on how to start turning the situation around,” Ms Kirby said. “For example New Zealanders with one type of artiritis are having to pay $25,000 a year or miss out on medicnes which Australians get for free.”

“This important document is being sent to all poitical parties to assist them forming policy in advance of the election. The issue needs immediate action, so we look forward to their responses,” Ms Kirby said.

The five major recommendations are; a significant funding increase to bring New Zealand into line with the OECD average, developing new mechanisms to enable access to high cost, highly-specialised medicines, ensuring PHARMAC negotiates the Community Pharmaceutical Scheme budget directly with the Minister, a signficant expansion to the Exceptional Circumstances Scheme and a strengthened and more independent consumer group to advise PHARMAC.


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