Budget 2016: $39 million extra for Pharmac

Column Articles
Thursday, May 12, 2016

Budget Day is quickly approaching and the National-led Government has already started to make some announcements about its exciting content.

Alongside a strong focus on the economy, the Budget will also ensure we keep meeting the needs of New Zealand families in key areas like health.

Our most recent announcement will see an extra $39 million invested in Pharmac for 2016/17 and an extra $124 million over the next four years. Pharmac’s budget for 2016/17 will be a record $850 million – this means the Government has increased Pharmac’s budget by $200 million since 2008.

This increase in funding will allow the government agency to provide more New Zealanders with access to new medicines. It will also provide Pharmac with more options on new medicines it can fund. 

New Zealand currently has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, a serious illness that affects about 350 people each year. Pharmac has approved Opdivo as a treatment for advanced melanoma and it is likely that this will be funded as a result of the new funding that Pharmac receives. This is significant for a number of reasons, not only for the 350 patients that are likely to have the drug funded but for two women battling melanoma using the drug in our region.

Funding medicines that help people live longer and better lives is what Pharmac is all about. And when somebody in your family is sick, you want to know they’ll be able to get the best drugs available.

In 2014/15 around 3.5 million New Zealanders received a funded medicine - 100,000 more than the previous year. Pharmac has advised they are currently considering funding around 50 new drugs, vaccines and devices.

National is committed to delivering better, sooner, more convenient healthcare. Last year over 70,000 New Zealanders benefited from 41 new and widened access medicines. Despite challenges in health including an ageing population and difficult economic times, we’re making each dollar go further and we’re getting great results.