27 Nov 2011

More spending needed on pharmaceuticals - drug companies

12:35 pm on 27 November 2011

Drug companies say spending on pharmaceuticals must be boosted so New Zealanders have access to more medicines.

A report in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday said people in this country receive fewer new medicines than Australians and have to wait much longer for them.

The report said New Zealand had less than half the new medicines available in Australia during the past decade and research was needed on the effects (of this) on health.

Medicines New Zealand general manager Kevin Sheehy says funding for medicines needs to increase.

But Pharmac, the State drug-buying agency, says the report does not cover the past two years when 59 new medicines were funded. The agency also says it does not take account of much lower prescription charges for medicines here.

In a separate Journal article, Pharmac said New Zealand has a viable pharmaceutical funding system that is less expensive than in other countries.