How are medicines funded?

When a new medicine application form is submitted the most common process undertaken before patients have access to new prescription medicine in New Zealand is as follows.

The new application is received by Medsafe for testing and registration. This process usually takes one year to complete before it can be passed on to Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC). PTAC is made up of senior health practitioners from a range of specialities, who consider clinical evidence around funding applications, and take into account PHARMAC’s Factors for Consideration before making recommendations to PHARMAC.

If a medicine is recommended it is moved onto the waiting list. PHARMAC look at the medicines on the waiting list and apply three broad assessments: clinical, economic and commercial. If the medicine is approved after these assessments then PHARMAC applies rules around funding and patient access. Then the new medicine is accessible to patients through the public health system.

What is the waiting list?

The Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) reviews funding applications for new medicines. PTAC makes recommendations on which medicines should be funded by PHARMAC. Until medicines are funded they stay on the waiting list. This waiting list only includes those medicines recommend by PTAC for reimbursement, and excludes other innovative medicines which have been approved for use in New Zealand and are available and funded in other countries but are yet to receive a positive recommendation to be funded from PTAC.

PHARMAC does not publish this list nor the process by which it is subsequently reprioritised for final funding decisions. Medicines New Zealand actively updates this waiting list to increase transparency around the PHARMAC decision making, time lines for listing and availability for our healthcare system.

Download File: Della Barca, C. (2017) Funding medicines in New Zealand: revision of the medicines waiting list. Auckland, New Zealand: Subscripts limited

What’s NZ Health Budget?

New Zealand only invests 5.3% of its $16.1 billion dollar budget into medicines. This spend is well below the OECD average. The OECD average for 2014 out of 31 countries was 16.8% of the total Health Budget.

Download file: Vote health: the estimates of appropriations 2016/17. (2016).Wellington, New Zealand:Treasury

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Make it Your Priority!

It’s about time we make our New Zealand healthcare system a priority. With a correct level of funding for innovative medicines, New Zealand can work towards improving healthcare options and outcomes for New Zealand patients. This starts by giving patients access to the right medicines and treatments at the right time.

Share our message and together let’s make it our priority!