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Medicines Access Crisis - Government Budget Ignores Patient Wellbeing

Announcements in the budget today show the Government doesn’t believe New Zealand patients need better access to medicines.

While New Zealand’s total health budget has increased, the medicines budget has not kept up with population growth and inflation since 2007. New investment of $80 per person per year is required to get medicines funding back to the equivalent of 2007 levels. What the Government has delivered in Budget 2019 is a little over a $2 investment per person at best. The public medicines funding system is now in crisis and patients access to medicines still remains poor compared to other developed countries.

“Instead of relying on our health system, New Zealand patients are being forced to march in the streets protesting or seek solutions online and abroad. They are now turning to crowdfunding, selling their houses and using their Kiwisavers in order to access these modern treatments by private means to survive” says Dr Graeme Jarvis, General Manager of Medicines New Zealand.

New Zealand also has an extensive backlog of over 100 priority medicines waiting to be publicly funded, despite being recommended for funding by experts. Some medicines on this waiting list have been waiting up to ten years or more due to funding shortfalls.

“There is no other way to describe this other than as a medicines access crisis. We have a growing medicines waiting list and we continue to act poorly in terms of moving to publicly fund these medicines as well as other modern medicines comparable countries provide for their patients. New Zealand patients and their families wellbeing is suffering as a result” says Dr Lee Mathias, Independent Board Chairman of Medicines New Zealand.

“Despite the Government failing to deliver anything significant in the Budget, we think there is still the opportunity for us all to sit down and collaborate on suitable medicines access solutions for patients in New Zealand”.


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