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Budget 2007: Funding to expand drug buying

Joint Statement
Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Health

Funding to expand drug buying

The government's drug-buying agency gets a permanent increase in funding in Budget 2007, Minister of Health Pete Hodgson and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced today.

Pharmac will be allocated another $20 million a year for more medicines for both people in the community and those needing pharmaceutical treatments in hospital such as cancer patients.

The funding provided to the country's District Health Boards is a permanent increase in Pharmac's budget, and is additional to the annual increase already agreed with DHBs.

It will boost the agency's ability by $5.4 million for community pharmaceuticals that include preventative treatments such as asthma medications like inhalants and statins for lowering cholesterol.

Mr Dunne said, "This increase in Pharmac's budget is timely in view of the work now underway to develop a National Medicines Strategy focusing on the quality use and availability of medicines for New Zealanders, and is a strong signal of the government's commitment."

To help district health boards fund more cancer treatments, which are often costly, $14 million of the new money is tagged to hospital cancer treatments.
Included in this is an allocation for the cost of a potential trial on the breast cancer drug herceptin.

"Drugs for the treatment of cancer is an area where things are constantly developing and changing and New Zealanders can be assured their health system is keeping up with those changes," Pete Hodgson said.

"I have also allocated $5 million to fund the cost of a potential trial to compare nine weeks concurrent use of the breast cancer drug herceptin with 12 months' concurrent use."

ENDS

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