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PHARMAC Budget Increase “Paltry”

Researched Medicines Industry Association
Media release

17 July 2008

PHARMAC Budget Increase “Paltry”

A paltry 2.7% increase for funding the community Pharmaceutical Schedule for medicines has been revealed in PHARMAC’s statement of intent, released this week.

“While inflation is heading towards 5%, the DHBs and Government are looking to invest less this year in real terms than last year to fund the medicines New Zealanders deserve,” Ken Shirley, the chief executive officer of the Researched Medicines Industry Association (RMI) said.

“PHARMAC advised that last year’s 6% increase provided “little scope for new investment,” so a figure below even the rate of inflation suggests fewer innovative new medicines for fewer people in need,” he said.

PHARMAC’s own clinical advisory committee (PTAC) has ranked a significant number of new and innovative medicines with a high priority for funding. Yet these medicines remain unavailable to many New Zealanders.

New Zealand is already at the bottom of the OECD group of nations for its rate of spending on pharmaceutical products. For example Australia’s pharmaceutical budget is ten times the size of New Zealand while the population is only five times ours.

Australia has committed a ten percent increase for pharmaceutical spending in appreciation of the positive health outcomes medicines provide.

“The RMI joins with clinicians, patients, pharmacists and researchers who strongly recommend that Government and the DHBs give adequate funding to PHARMAC so it can better provide the medicines New Zealanders need,” Ken Shirley said.

ENDS

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