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Outdated public funding model failing NZ patients

9 October 2018

Publicly funded modern medicines are out of reach for many patients in New Zealand according to a new report. The COMPARE 4 report shows New Zealand ranking the lowest out of 20 OECD countries for its market access to modern medicines.

New Zealand’s market access score of 12% is a long way from 19th placed Portugal.

Top 2 and bottom 2 countries for market access:

· 1st Germany 100%

· 2nd U.K 97%

· 19th Portugal 42%

· 20th New Zealand 12%

“This report shows the dire state of modern medicines access in New Zealand. The growing medicines inequity impacts all New Zealand patients, their whānau and the health system,” says Dr Graeme Jarvis, General Manager of Medicines New Zealand.

New Zealand has publicly funded 28 modern medicines from 2012 to 2017, compared to Australia who has funded 90 modern medicines.

“The current approach when accessing modern medicines is outdated. Patients wait years to access medicines that are readily publicly funded overseas. This is having a huge impact on treatment options for New Zealand patients when compared with other countries,” says Dr Jarvis.

This is the fourth consecutive year where New Zealand has shown no improvement in market access for modern medicines.

“If other countries can overcome barriers to access modern medicines, so can New Zealand. We need to review current medicine policies and bring them into the 21st century,” says Dr Jarvis.

The COMPARE 4 report analyses public reimbursement environments for 20 comparable OECD countries. The market access score measures the number of modern medicines available, the time it takes to access them and how many are publicly funded.


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