Celebrating 25 years of PHARMAC

Health Minister Dr David Clark is pleased to mark 25 years since the establishment of the Pharmaceutical Management Agency, PHARMAC.

“I’m delighted PHARMAC has reached this significant milestone. We can all be proud of the great work PHARMAC does to keep pharmaceuticals accessible to New Zealanders,” said David Clark.

PHARMAC was formed in 1993 in response to pressure on health services, in particular spending on pharmaceuticals. It’s had a significant impact on spending patterns.

“In the 10 years to 2018 alone, PHARMAC made funding decisions that benefited over one million New Zealanders, including subsidising 169 new medicines and widening access to another 245.

“The savings PHARMAC generates are reinvested into making even more medicines available for more New Zealanders.”

That’s continued with this year’s Budget announcement that PHARMAC will now manage all public expenditure on medicines whether used in the community or in hospital.

“This is made possible because New Zealand pays some of the lowest prices in the world for pharmaceuticals thanks to PHARMAC’s ability to negotiate the best rate among suppliers. This is clear when you consider PHARMAC has saved DHBs almost $6 billion over the past 11 years.

“PHARMAC is something that all New Zealanders can be, and should be, proud of,” David Clark said.


PHARMAC’s four functions are:
• Managing New Zealand’s Pharmaceutical Schedule. This consists of nearly 25,000 Government-subsidised medicines and medical devices.
• Promoting responsible use of medicines such as antibiotics.
• Managing the Named Patient Pharmaceutical Assessment policy. This can enable people to access products not listed in the Government-subsidised Pharmaceutical Schedule.
• Engaging in research.

You can read more about PHARMAC’s history and work on its website.