Sunday, May 19, 2024

Govt throws medicines a funding lifeline

Associate Health Minister, David Seymour, has announced Pharmac’s largest ever budget of $6.294 billion over four years in a bid to address a $1.774 billion funding shortfall.

“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,” said Mr Seymour.

“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.”

He said that 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 the Government to find the additional $1.774 billion to prevent that 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,” the Minister said.

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