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Kiwis have access to fewer medicines than Aussies

Dr Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

Kiwis have access to fewer medicines than Aussies

For the past six years New Zealanders have had access to 58 fewer new medicines then Australians, says National's Associate Health spokeswoman, Dr Jackie Blue.

She is commenting on the release of health economist Michael Wonder's report titled ‘Access by patients in New Zealand to innovative new prescription only medicines; how have they been faring in recent times in relation to their trans-Tasman counterparts?’

"Because Pharmac's per capita expenditure has flatlined over the past five years, this report comes as no real surprise,” says Dr Blue.

"It confirms that New Zealanders are missing out on crucial new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, HIV/Aids, cancer, psoriasis, dermatitis and heart failure.

“It also points out that the few new medicines New Zealanders can access are more restricted than they are in Australia.

“Spiriva, an inhaler used in chronic obstructive airways disease, has no special access criteria in Australia – GPs can freely prescribe it. But in New Zealand there are demanding criteria to qualify for reimbursement.

"In the past, Pharmac has tried to fudge the figures by saying New Zealanders have access to more pharmaceuticals. But on closer inspection they include items such as condoms, peak flow meters, calamine lotion and Janola in their statistics.

"The report also confirms that compared to Australians, New Zealanders are waiting an average of 14 months longer for new medicines.

"Pharmac has its priorities all wrong.

“Denying and stalling access to new, innovative medicines is false economy. New drugs have the potential to keep more people out of hospital,” says Dr Blue.


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