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Dire findings - NZ continues to rank last for modern medicines access

Medicines New Zealand have commissioned a new independent IQVIA report, International Comparisons of Modern Medicines (ICoMM 2) 2020, which found New Zealand remains in last place out of 20 comparable OECD countries for access to modern medicines. 

A core list of 403 medicines was included in the analysis of which New Zealand had publicly funded only 24 of these medicines (6%) by 31 December 2018.

The report shows New Zealand’s health system has significantly reduced medicines access compared with other countries with similar health and medicines funding systems such as Australia and the United Kingdom. These comparator countries with similar wealth rankings, publicly fund significantly more registered modern medicines than New Zealand, across a wide range of health conditions such as cancer, rare diseases and mental health, and publicly fund them faster.

“When other countries are looking at the same clinical evidence and saying yes to publicly funding modern medicines, why is New Zealand deciding our patients and health system aren’t worth it? How is that fair?” says Dr Lee Mathias, Chairman of Medicines New Zealand.

The report found it took New Zealand on average 659 days to publicly fund modern medicines compared to an average of 273 days for the other OECD countries included in the comparison. 

“Not only does New Zealand compare very poorly to other countries in terms of access to these modern medicines, but the timeliness of funding is dire. If New Zealanders can’t get access to modern medicines now, what’s going to happen when the more personalised and game-changing medicines come down the pipeline?” says Dr Mathias. 

The findings of the ICoMM 2 report show that New Zealanders are missing out on modern medicines that have been proven to be life-changing, life-extending or life-saving. 

Read the full ICoMM 2 report here.

Medicines New Zealand is now working on collaborative solutions to ensure Kiwi patients and the health system don’t continue missing out on modern medicines. Find out more here.


Medicines New Zealand is the industry group representing biopharmaceutical companies operating in New Zealand. We advocate for the benefits of modern medicines as part of a high-quality public health system. Our objective is to ensure that New Zealanders have access to the right medicines at the right

Kristen Edwards, Communications Advisor, Medicines New Zealand.
Ph: 027 534 6461  

We are aware that the Health and Disability Review is expected to be released this week however medicines were excluded from the Review's scope, so we are doing a collaborative consultation separately to try and synch up. Find out more at