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Increase of Pharmacy Co-Payment Expected

Increase of the Pharmacy Co-Payment Expected in Current Economic Climate

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) believes that today’s increase of the co-payment for prescription items from $3 to $5 was expected because the current funding was unsustainable.

The co-payment is the fee patients pay per prescription item when collecting their medicines from their community pharmacy. This co-payment is collected by pharmacies on behalf of the Government, as the patient contribution to the cost of their medicines. Most New Zealanders now pay $3 per prescription item up to a maximum of 20 items per family per year, after which items are free. This charge will increase to $5 per item on 1 January 2013, up to the 20 item maximum a year.

This is the first time the prescription charge has been increased in almost 20 years. There will continue to be no charge for prescription items for children under six years old

“The real value of the $3 co-payment has significantly decreased over time,” says the Guild’s President, Karen Crisp. “Health comprises half of all Government spending and we understand the difficult fiscal environment we are currently in.

“Community pharmacists can help patients get the maximum benefit from their medicines. Medicines improve patients’ quality of life and community pharmacists welcome the opportunity to talk to their patients about their medicines.

“For those patients who genuinely cannot afford the co-payment, there is help available from Work and Income NZ, or the Primary Health Organisations. This means that no patient in New Zealand needs to go without their medicines because they cannot afford them.”

ENDS

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