We are outraged that the Minister of Health has today confirmed $30 million of PHARMAC’s budget was not reinvested in medicines in 2015. PHARMAC’s gross underfunding has left New Zealanders missing out on innovative medicines.” said Dr Graeme Jarvis, General Manager of Medicines New Zealand.
New Zealanders are waiting for 81 medicines recommended for funding by PHARMAC’s own technical advisory committee with an average waiting time of 3 years. The longest waiting time is 12 years.
Aside from providing PHARMAC with the correct levels of funding, the PHARMAC model needs to be updated to deal with the newest innovative medicines. Early access schemes are already benefiting patients in Japan, UK and US.
Innovative medicines are an investment not only in people, but in future healthcare sustainability. A recent Australian study showed a $7 billion saving in hospital costs as a result of innovative medicines being utilised and prescribed.
Funding one medicine alone is not enough to fix the problem in New Zealand, there are a number of conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and cancers) where patients are not being given access to the recommended cost-effective medicines.