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230,000 New Zealand patients have inequitable access to modern medicines

More than 230,000 New Zealand patients are deprived from accessing a range of modern medicines shown by the latest information published in New Zealand’s Medicines Landscape.

Patients overseas have ready access to medicines that are not available in New Zealand because of a waiting list. More than 45 developed and developing nations are already publicly funding these medicines for their patients. This is in stark contrast to New Zealand where expert technical advice is ignored and these medicines remain unfunded. This applies more pressure to the health system and impacts a large number of patients as they still wait for public access to these medicines.

“It’s embarrassing when patients in other countries such as Lebanon, Estonia, Slovenia or Moldova can access these waiting list medicines. It seems those countries clearly understand the value and benefits modern medicines provide, while we still seem to be slowly pondering on decisions to provide New Zealand patients public access to them,” says Dr Graeme Jarvis, General Manager of Medicines New Zealand.

The Landscape shows the impact of medicines and vaccines and their importance in improving public health outcomes. Modern medicines lead to many positive effects including the reduction of diseases in society and better health outcomes for patients,  enabling them to return to work to support their families. This reduces both social and economic inequity.

“If we improve timely access to these recommended modern medicines this will aid New Zealand's stressed health system. It will also give health professionals more treatment options for their patients and provide an equitable health environment for New Zealand.” said Dr Jarvis.

The 2017 New Zealand Medicines Landscape is available online at



Media contact:

Aaron Vinnell, Communications Advisor, Medicines New Zealand.

Ph: 027 534 6461