Budget 2020 - securing New Zealand’s medicine supply

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

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

“Of course these are not normal times. Budget 2020 will have a significant focus on economic recovery and rebuilding to support jobs.  

“But at the same time it is vital that we 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.

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

On 1 September 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.

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 percent.

“This Government is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Protecting our medicines supply by continuing to invest in PHARMAC does just that,” David Clark said.