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Dunne: Medicines spending on track

Media statement
For immediate release
Friday, 4 April 2008

Dunne: Medicines spending on track

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne says Medicines New Zealand, the national medicines strategy developed as a result of the confidence and supply agreement between UnitedFuture and the Labour-led government, will help address concerns that New Zealand isn't spending the right amount of money on medicines.

“Comments by Dr Pippa MacKay from the Researched Medicines Industry Association of New Zealand this morning that New Zealand spends less on pharmaceuticals than comparable countries is only part of the story,” he said.

“In 2005 the Australian government revealed that some medicines cost New Zealand taxpayers as much as 19 times less than Australian taxpayers.

“It's misleading just to focus on how much money we spend, because it ignores that PHARMAC is able to negotiate some great deals that save taxpayers money on those drugs.

“DHBs spent $636 million this year on community pharmaceuticals.

“But if they spend more on medicine, they'll spend less on other services like surgery.

“The question we have to ask is not, 'should we spend more on medicine?', but rather 'is the mix of spending between pharmaceuticals and other health services producing the best health gain for New Zealanders?'

“Medicines New Zealand, which I released in December last year, will help us answer that question.

“It says DHBs and PHARMAC should move to a principles-based approach for setting the community pharmaceuticals budget, which aims to maximise health outcomes across pharmaceuticals and other health services.

“We're focused on making sure that the planning process is robust and producing the right pharmaceuticals budget for New Zealand, not responding to misleading comparisons with other countries,” said Mr Dunne.


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