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Aussie's beat the Kiwis, yet again...

1 August 2008

Aussie's beat the Kiwis, yet again...

"An extra (Aust) $909.2 million over the next five years for new medicines and extensions to listings for existing funded medicine was announced today by the Australian government.

"This just shows just how dismal is the 2.7% increase in funding announced for PHARMAC to allocate for medicines in New Zealand for the current year," Dr Pippa MacKay, the chairman of the Researched Medicines Industry Association (RMI) said this morning.

In announcing the significant increase the Australian Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon said "I hope that these new subsidised medicines will bring financial relief and peace of mind to Australians who are undergoing treatment for these conditions."

Dr MacKay said this statement showed an understanding of how health funding should have a strategic cost benefit principle for patients as well as the DHBs and the government itself.

"There is considerable evidence that the use of modern innovative medicines can keep people pain free, at work, out of hospitals and free from the burden of having their family or friends to care for them.

"The Australians understand this principle - they are prepared to provide the funding for medicines needed by their people," she said.

The new Australian government's medicine funding system (PBS) today also sees major price reductions, of up to 25%, being imposed for many older medicines.

Dr MacKay said "the new investments in modern innovative medicines announced today are clearly the fruit of these savings.

"However, New Zealanders have missed out on this potential source of medicines funding. The massive price cuts imposed on the medicines industry since 1993 means that there are few savings left to make. And, as PHARMAC has indicated, it has not been allocated funding for significant new investments.

"Yet Naomi Ballentyne, the CEO of ING Life, says there are 2,000 medicines registered for use in New Zealand that are not funded for patients. Her company is covering most of these.

"Come on New Zealand, must we always be behind the Australians? Isn't it sad that people have to pay insurance premiums or cross the Tasman to gain access to modern medicines? This is hardly principled and equitable health care," Dr MacKay said.

ENDS

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