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Medicines NZ welcomes the additional investment in health

Medicines New Zealand welcomes the additional investment in health, announced in today’s Budget

“We support the Government’s commitment to improving access to innovative medicines and protecting and growing public health services, in a tight economic climate. Thousands of New Zealand patients have benefited from increased Government investment in pharmaceuticals over the past three years,” Medicines New Zealand Chair Heather Roy says.

“This increased investment in medicine shows the Government is able to make meaningful investments in New Zealanders living healthier lives. There is however still a need for further investment before New Zealand patients have optimal access to medicines.”

Raising the prescription fee to $5 from January 2013 – for the first 20 prescriptions per family per year - will make a positive contribution to the Health Budget,” Medicines New Zealand General Manager Kevin Sheehy says.

Colmar Brunton research, commissioned by Medicines New Zealand in 2010, indicated that New Zealanders would feel comfortable paying between $5 and $9 for each prescription item.

“Better access to new and more costly medicines would be significantly enhanced if some of the additional money raised by increasing prescription fees goes towards funding innovative medicines that New Zealander’s currently don’t have access to. We believe smart decision making, to provide high quality, effective medicines, will enable better health outcomes for New Zealand,” Mr Sheehy says.

“As outlined, significant savings will be made from the natural cycle of innovative medicines coming off patent in 2012. We look forward to the reinvestment of these savings in further funding of medicines in New Zealand. Advances in modern medicine are allowing people to stay well and live productive, fulfilling lives for longer, keeping them out of hospital which results in public health system savings and reduces the strain on in-patient services. Many innovative medicines are easier for patients to take and tolerate, are more effective and have fewer side effects,” Mr Sheehy says.

Medicines New Zealand also welcomes the other health initiatives announced in today’s Budget – particularly support for complex health conditions such as improving cancer services, which frequently involve innovative medicines. These initiatives are important to ensure NZ patient safety and outcomes are improved.

ENDS

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