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Govt announce $160m pharmaceutical funding boost

Photo: File.

Health Minister David Clark says the 2020 Budget will ensure New Zealanders continue to get the medicines they need, despite global pressure on supply chain. 

The Government has announced an increase of $160 million over four years in the Combined Pharmaceutical Budget. 

This is managed by PHARMAC and covers DHB purchasing of medicines, vaccines, medical devices and other treatments.

 “New Zealanders deserve access to the best possible care and treatment, and PHARMAC plays a key part in that,” David says. 

He says the budget will have a significant focus on economic recovery and rebuilding to support jobs. 

“Of course these are not normal times.” 
 
But he says it is vital government prioritise additional investment in critical services like PHARMAC. 

 “First and foremost this will secure our medicine supply, while at the same time allowing scope for PHARMAC to continue to work on expanding the range of funded treatments where possible.” 

 Today’s announcement provides a further boost, with an extra $10 million in 2020/21, and $150 million over the following three years.

 “This is a critical investment in the health of our country and takes PHARMAC’s medicines budget to a record $1.045 billion for 2020/21. That’s an increase of $174 million since 2017/18 – or 20 per cent.

Health Minister David Clark. 

Since Budget 2019, 13 new medicines have been approved by PHARMAC to become publicly funded, including six new cancer treatments, he says. 

“In fact, in the last two years, more than 200,000 New Zealanders have benefitted from 65 additional or widened access subsidised medicines.” 

 “Budget 2020 locks in those gains,” David says. 

 On September 1 2019, the Government announced an extra $60 million in funding for PHARMAC – $20 million in 2019/20 and $40 million in 2020/21. 

That was followed last month by a one-off investment in essential medicines of $35 million in response to COVID-19.

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