Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Kiwis missing out on free prescription medicines entitlement


Tuesday 13 November 2012

Kiwis missing out on free prescription medicines entitlement

Many New Zealanders are not getting free prescriptions when they should and these people are likely to include our most vulnerable, new findings from an ongoing University of Otago and Victoria University study into equity in prescription medicine use suggest.

Most people pay $3 per medicine when they pick up their prescription from the pharmacy but after paying for 20 prescription items in a year, individuals or families are supposed to be exempt from this charge.

Using anonymous data from community pharmacy computers, the research team identified individuals who had more than 20 items dispensed to them in a year and found that the majority were from the most socio-economically deprived areas. The researchers’ analysis showed that 40% percent still paid the prescription fee for 90% of the medicines they got, after they should have been entitled to the exemption.

Associate Professor Jackie Cumming from Victoria University says “In fact the average amount people paid for medicines hardly dropped at all after they reached 20 items.”

PHARMAC data shows that 180,000 people pay for prescriptions after they should be exempt. This costs patients about 2.5 million dollars a year.

Otago’s Dr Simon Horsburgh says that these data are likely to underestimate the extent of the problem because the exemption should apply after a family has had 20 items. “Neither our study or PHARMAC can identify families from the data, so these estimates are based on individuals. Because many of these people will have family members who also get prescriptions they should be receiving free prescriptions after fewer than 20 items.”

Standard charges for prescription medicines will go up from $3 to $5 in January 2013. This should mean that the maximum that families will be required to pay will be $100 per year.

However, Professor Pauline Norris says “Given that the exemption after 20 items does not seem to work in practice, people with multiple health problems, who use a lot of prescription medicines, will potentially have to pay much more than that”. She points to New Zealand and overseas studies which show that prescription charges lead to less use of medicines and poorer health outcomes.

Exemption for the prescription charges requires people to have a Prescription Subsidy Card, to have one main pharmacy, to collect receipts from any other pharmacies they visit, and take these to their main pharmacy.

“Many people may not know about the card, they might visit multiple pharmacies, or pharmacists may not be aware of family relationships. Vulnerable people, such as those with multiple health problems, the elderly and people with low health literacy may particularly struggle with these bureaucratic procedures. These are the very people who we need to ensure get the health care they need,” Professor Norris says.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads.

This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD.

That showed that the City Rail Link, together with surface bus improvement, provided the best regional solution. However, it also identified that the city centre is already facing serious congestion across all major road entry points which, if not addressed now, will worsen. More>>

 

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Kiwi Pride: New Zealand Takes UN Security Council Seat

“New Zealand’s term on the Security Council will place us at the heart of international decision-making for the next two years,” Mr McCully says. More>>

Greens: CAA Airport Door Report Conflicts With Brownlee’s Claims

The heavily redacted report into the incident shows conflicting versions of events as told by Gerry Brownlee and the Christchurch airport security staff. The report disputes Brownlee’s claim that he was allowed through, and states that he instead pushed his way through. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news