Covering the many, caring for the few
Most patients have their medicines funded with just a fraction of the Combined Pharmaceutical Budget (CPB). This means that last year, half of gross medicine spending in the CPB went to just 2% of patients. These are people with high health needs requiring in many cases highly expensive medicines. PHARMAC is able to provide these people with fully funded access to effective, expensive medicines.
This is possible because the vast majority of people have their medicine needs met very efficiently. 80% of patients receiving funded medicines at a cost of just 9% of all spending. This extremely broad coverage of medicines for New Zealanders is made possible by the low prices negotiated by PHARMAC. New Zealand has some of the lowest medicine prices in the world, achieved through commercial negotiations and mechanisms such as the PHARMAC Tender for off-patent medicines.
This efficient use of the budget means PHARMAC has more funding available for more highly-priced medicines.
The chart below illustrates how a comparatively small portion of the CPB covers very large numbers of patients, while highly priced medicines are still available to comparatively small numbers of people.
The chart below also shows that over time PHARMAC is continuing to improve this low-price coverage for people. In 2011, 10% of the CPB covered 77% of all patients. By 2017, 10% of the CPB covered 81% of patients.
Last updated: 12 December 2017