John Key MP
National Party Leader
23 October 2008
National: Boosting access to medicines
National Party Leader John Key says a National-led Government will provide New Zealanders with broader access to
medicines, including new funding for Herceptin.
“National recognises that many Kiwis have limited access to modern medicines. We will improve that access. We will boost
overall funding for medicines and speed up the registration of new medicines, with final approval remaining in New
“National will boost funding for medicines over three years to expand the availability of subsidised medicines. Funding
will increase over present levels by $40 million in year one, $60 million in year two, and $80 million in year three. We
will increase this funding further if economic conditions allow.
“These initiatives will be funded within the indicative health spending allocations in the PREFU. They are also further
examples of our determination to shift spending into frontline services for patients, rather than backroom costs.
“New Zealanders are increasingly uneasy about the limited range of publicly funded medicines available here compared to
what is available in other countries.
“Countries we like to compare ourselves with – such as Australia – spend more, in part because they have higher incomes.
Australia provides much better access to medicines than New Zealand does.
“It is clear that in the medium term only better economic performance overall will enable us to spend significantly more
on healthcare. National is firmly focused on achieving that growth.
In the short-term New Zealand must strive to get more services from existing health spending by reducing waste and
bureaucracy, and by lifting productivity.”
National will also:
• Work with stakeholders to investigate ways to improve access to high-cost highly specialised medicines.
• Establish a process of unilateral recognition of the registration and approval of medicines. We will retain Medsafe’s
capacity to fully evaluate new medicine applications as appropriate.
• Fund 12-month access to Herceptin for early Her-2 positive breast cancer sufferers, recognising the overwhelming
international evidence and consensus of cancer specialists.
About 12% of New Zealand’s public health spending goes on medicines compared to an average of 18% in the OECD. Public
funding per person on pharmaceuticals in New Zealand is only two-thirds of what it is in Australia.
“This boost in medicines funding will mean real per-person funding for medicines will gradually increase under a
National-led Government. It will broaden access to medicines for many New Zealanders.”