8 Sep 2008

NZ lagging in spending, drug company report shows

10:15 pm on 8 September 2008

A report says New Zealand has fallen significantly behind other developed countries in providing access to specialised medicines.

The document was issued after a three-month study by the Collaborative Forum into High Cost, Highly Specialised Medicines, which involved more than 30 representatives from various sectors of the health industry.

It was funded by an grant from the pharmaceutical company, Wyeth Australia.

It found that New Zealand's pharmaceutical spend has not kept pace with its neighbours, or the overall health budget.

Though health spending increased by 44% between 2000 to 2007, the report says the Community Pharmaceuticals budget increased by only 18%.

The forum says demographic changes and the development of new and complex targeted therapies mean the shortfall will worsen if it is not addressed.