Access to medicines amongst the worst in the developed world
“New Zealanders’ access to modern innovative medicines is amongst the worst of all nations in the developed world,” Ken
Shirley, RMI chief executive told the Gerontology Conference in Hamilton.
“As people age they face new and growing challenges to their health, productivity and independence—from geriatric
conditions to complications from diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Our older citizens are
denied medicines that are subsidised and available in Australia which could alleviate these conditions and diseases.
“Since the establishment of PHARMAC 14 years ago spending, when adjusted for inflation, on medicines has not increased.
This is in spite of an increasing and ageing population, significant technological advances and a marked increase in the
number of prescriptions being written” he said.
The purchase of medicines is the only segment of public health spending that has remained static. While some would
herald this as the success story of the PHARMAC model the reality is that New Zealanders are going without.
The RMI contends that New Zealand’s severe restriction and access to new innovative medicines is a false economy,
resulting in sub-optimal health outcomes that reduce the potential well-being of the nation.
The RMI acknowledges that Government is reviewing its medicines strategy and we look forward to significant improvements
when the strategy is announced in mid-December.