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Medicines Waiting List: International disgrace

New Zealand’s Medicines Waiting List: International disgrace for patient equity

12 July 2018

The medicines waiting list grows to over 100 priority medicines that wait to be publicly funded by PHARMAC. All medicines on this list have been recommended to benefit patients and New Zealand’s healthcare system by PHARMAC’s own technical advisory board.

The medicines waiting list has grown from 86 medicines in 2017 to 103 medicines in 2018.

“It shows that PHARMAC are ignoring recommendations from their own specialist advisory board. New Zealand patients are missing out on over 100 medicines that could provide better treatment for cancer, diabetes, arthritis and many other chronic diseases, ” says Dr Graeme Jarvis, General Manager of Medicines New Zealand.

A quarter of a million patients were waiting for a third of the medicines on the previous list. Patients are hamstrung by decision delays as some medicines have been on this list for almost 14 years.

“The government needs to start funding the priority medicines that have been sidelined for years. The growth of this waiting list is an international disgrace for patient equity in New Zealand,” says Dr Jarvis.

New Zealand’s lack of access cripples the advantages of on-flowing benefits medicines can provide. Lower hospitalisation rates and better patient outcomes reduce the costs downstream for the health system.

“Saying there is a lack of information or clinical data to progress the funding applications for these medicines is a weak excuse. This is the same clinical data that is provided to over 45 countries who already fund these medicines,” says Dr Jarvis.

PHARMAC’s budget has been increased to a record level of $984million for 2018/19.

“Clearing the backlog of medicines on the waiting list should be this government’s priority,” says Dr Jarvis.


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