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Step Forward for Access to Off-Patent Medicines (New Zealand)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

New Zealand's drug-funding agency, PHARMAC, has suggested a policy amendment designed to make off-patent medications more easily available to the public. If approved, the changes would offer more leeway for people who need medications not approved under a PHARMAC contract. Currently, PHARMAC, forms agreements with one pharmaceutical company to provide a medication to a particular market. By asking drug-makers to bid for exclusive access to these areas, PHARMAC has saved over $300 million on drug costs since 1998. Since the institution of these contracts, there have been some complaints by doctors and patients, claiming not all people respond to a particular drug-brand. In response to these concerns, PHARMAC will allow up to 1 percent of patients access to drugs not approved under the contract, provided they can present clinical evidence proving their need for a specific brand of drug. (Click here for more
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