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Research shows new cancer medicines pay for themselves

Research by prominent American economist, Professor Frank Lichtenberg, proves New Zealand’s investment in cancer medicines reduces hospital spending, contributes to improved survival rates and decreases premature mortality rates.

This is the first study to analyse the impact of new cancer medicines on patients and the health system in New Zealand in this way.

Professor Lichtenberg concludes early investments in cancer medicines saved at least 10,556 years of life for cancer sufferers in 2011.

Hospitals also saved $28 million as a result of new medicines – almost matching the total investment in all cancer medicines dispensed in that year alone.

“This comprehensive study shows that taxpayers and patients are getting value for money when PHARMAC invests in new medicines” said Medicines New Zealand Chair, Hon Heather Roy.

“However, the impact of new cancer medicines in New Zealand could have been much greater” said Professor Frank Lichtenberg, Columbia University.

“Over the time analysed, New Zealand had both a smaller number of these cancer medicines funded and a larger waiting time for medicines to be funded, compared to other countries.”

“For every dollar invested in a new cancer medicine, one dollar is saved downstream in the healthcare system” said Professor Lichtenberg.

Professor Lichtenberg is guest speaker at Medicines New Zealand’s annual Parliamentary Dinner on 23 August 2016, hosted by Minister of Health, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman.



Media contact:

Katie Sherriff, Communications Advisor, Medicines New Zealand.

Ph: 027 534 6461