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OECD-level commitment welcomed

Wednesday, 11 May 2005

Dunne: Health research funding OECD-level commitment welcomed

United Future leader Peter Dunne has welcomed the Government's commitment to reaching the OECD average on health research funding. Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Steve Maharey, confirmed in Parliament yesterday that this was the Government's intent, under questioning from Mr Dunne, after earlier announcing a boost in funding to come in this year's Budget. "If the Government is to continue to increasingly focus its health policy on prevention, then funding health research into the causes of illness and the development of remedies must be adequate. It hasn't been for some considerable time," Mr Dunne said.

Last August in Parliament, United Future quoted from a report by the Australian Expert Group in Industry Studies which found that "the level of funding available for health research in New Zealand has decreased over the past decade, is now well below international standards, and is in serious danger of falling below a level necessary to sustain a functioning health research system."

"Clearly, we are very pleased that the amount of funding for health research will be increasing in this Budget, although we would like to see a commitment to bring it up to the level of other OECD countries," Mr Dunne said.

In conjunction with increased funding for health research, United Future's policy is to establish a National Medicines Policy. Such a policy, as adopted in Australia, would directs Pharmac and other players in the medicines industry to find an appropriate balance between:

* ensuring that New Zealanders have access to the most up to date drugs at a reasonable cost
* keeping pharmaceuticals expenditure at sustainable levels
* maintaining a viable medicines industry through research and development, and
* ensuring that medical practitioners prescribe medicines wisely.

ENDS

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