New Zealand’s Medicines Landscape 2022/23

Medicines New Zealand has today released the 2022/23 edition of their annual publication New Zealand’s Medicines Landscape. This edition sheds light on the significant cost of ill health to New Zealand and reiterates that New Zealand continues to rank last among the OECD countries for access to modern medicines.

A new report cited in the Landscape shows that New Zealand is in last place amongst OECD countries, with Hungary second to last, in terms of public health system access to modern medicines. New Zealand continues to lag well behind countries like Australia and the UK.

“New Zealand likes to compare itself to Australia and hopes to be better than them. It appears we need to lower our expectations when it comes to modern medicines access- so it’s a case of ‘Goodbye Australia – Hello Hungary’ for us and our Health system’s access to modern medicines” says Dr Graeme Jarvis, CEO of Medicines New Zealand.

The Landscape also highlights that the over 80 medicines on Pharmac’s Options for Investment list remain in a state of limbo, for more than five years and counting on average, as they still wait for a funding decision to be made. This is despite the current Government providing some much-needed additional investment to help try and clear the list of medicines – many of which are standard of care in other OECD countries. This creates issues in New Zealand with inequity of access for patients, the health system, broader society and the economy. The country is therefore missing out on the benefits that the medicines could bring.

“It is well established that medicines play a critical role in any health system, allow patients and carers to go back to work and help reduce hospitalisation which may help relieve some of the hospital workforce issues. So it is somewhat surprising that they are not better valued as a critical tool within the health system and society here in New Zealand.”

The Landscape also highlights solutions that could allow New Zealand to catch up with our peer OECD nations including the need for the development of a fit-for-purpose, future focussed Medicines Strategy. The need for a Medicines Strategy to be developed by February 2023 was also a recommendation from the Independent Pharmac Review Panel’s final report. However, there is no sign of that Strategy being developed at all. Instead, the country is still waiting for it, just like it is for the many medicines on the waiting lists.

The 2022/23 edition of New Zealand’s Medicines Landscape can be found online here.

The PhRMA Report: Global Access to New Medicines Report can be found online here