Government saves access to medicines

  • Hon David Seymour

Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced Pharmac’s largest ever budget of $6.294 billion over four years, fixing a $1.774 billion fiscal cliff.

“Access to medicines is a crucial part of many Kiwis’ lives. We’ve committed to a budget allocation of $1.774 billion over four years so Kiwis are able to access the medicines they need to live a fulfilling life,” says Mr Seymour.

“Upon assuming the role of Associate Health Minister, I was informed by Pharmac that they were facing a $1.774 billion shortfall over the next four years. This deficit occurred because Labour neglected to budget for medicines, creating a significant fiscal challenge.

“In Labour’s fiscal plan, they allocated $180 million annually. However, the true cost to secure Pharmac’s budget was over $400 million per year. This lack of funding jeopardised New Zealanders by potentially causing Pharmac to delist medicines, thereby reducing access to vital healthcare.

“For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. It was a priority for this government to find the additional $1.774 billion to prevent this from happening.

“This is what New Zealanders can expect from this government – prioritising spending so we can focus on what is most important for them.

“The Government is committed to providing New Zealanders with greater access to the medicines they need. Pseudoephedrine cold and flu medicines will be on shelves within weeks, we’ve streamlined Pharmac’s approval processes so it can assess a funding application at the same time Medsafe is assessing the application for regulatory approval, and we’re committed to faster approvals within Medsafe for products already approved by at least two overseas regulatory agencies recognised by New Zealand.

“In a trying fiscal environment, the Government has to prioritise. Making sure that New Zealanders have access to the medicines they need for a fulfilling life is one of our greatest priorities.”

/Public Release. View in full here.