$60 million more for Pharmac

Pharmac, the government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund in New Zealand, is set to receive an extra $60 million over four years.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the investment will provide more New Zealanders with access to new medicines.

“This funding boost in Budget 2017 will provide Pharmac with an extra $20 million in the 2017/2018 year,” he says.

“On top of the government’s extra $20 million next year, a further $11 million will be injected into Pharmac’s annual budget by DHBs.

“Pharmac’s budget for 2017/18 will be a record $870 million – this means the government has increased Pharmac’s budget by $220 million since 2008.”

In the last two years over 109,000 New Zealanders have benefited from 62 new and widened access subsidised medicines. Around 3.5 million New Zealanders receive a funded medicine each year – 100,000 more than in 2013/14.

“Around 820,000 New Zealanders have benefited from 414 new and widened access medicines since 2007/2008.”

At any one time, Pharmac has a list of proposals for new medicines and medical devices which medical experts have recommended as a priority for any funds that become available through savings or budget increases.

“Pharmac works within a fixed budget and looks for the best health gains for the greatest number of New Zealanders,” says Jonathan.

“The government’s extra investment builds on the $124 million over four years committed in Budget 2016. It gives Pharmac more options on new medicines it can fund. It’s up to Pharmac to make these decisions, however.”