Media Release

Kiwis Missing out on Innovative Medicines

By Graeme Jarvis
19 Mar 2015

Compared to our Aussie cousins, Kiwi patients are denied access to innovative medicines. In the past 12 months, Australia listed 17 new medicines on their pharmaceutical schedule and New Zealand listed just one.
“New Zealanders are getting less than 13% of the new medicines that their Australian equivalents can obtain according to a new 2015 study just published in the Australian Health Review”, Medicines New Zealand General Manager Dr Graeme Jarvis said.

The study, which is an update of a previous study,* shows from 2009-2014 that 88% of new medicines available in Australia were still not available in New Zealand. Almost 10% of these medicines are for diseases for which there is no current treatment available in New Zealand.
The data also showed that the timeliness of the listing in New Zealand was slower than in Australia- it takes two years longer on average for PHARMAC to fund the same medicines available across the Tasman.
Sadly, the trend highlighted in this 2015 study shows no signs of improvement in the delay New Zealanders face getting access to innovative medicines in a timely fashion.
This study was undertaken as the debate In Australia continues around capping the spending on pharmaceuticals in a similar way to New Zealand’s PHARMAC.
“The study also highlighted that if positive health outcomes are to be achieved, the funding of medicines must consider better access to new pharmaceuticals and vaccines alongside benefits to patients and the health system, “ said Dr Jarvis.


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