PHARMAC and Medicines

New Zealand First recognizes health as a critical and essential investment that reflects how New Zealand values its people. The existing inequalities in terms of access to healthcare, clinical outcomes and long-term care are unacceptable and the health system must ensure that all New Zealanders are treated equally. Access to conventional, natural products and dietary supplements must be enhanced while also meeting the same clinical standards to ensure an efficient health system. Investment into health is more important now than ever as COVID-19 has highlighted the failures in both our underfunded public health systems and profit driven private health systems in their treatment of the crisis. 

A recent Medicines New Zealand report found that New Zealand ranks last out of twenty comparable OECD countries for access to modern medicines.  

Too many of our medical experts have expressed concern at Pharmac having only one supplier of a medical product.  

In contrast the Australian model is assessment-led, it is not based on costs, finding the cheapest supplier of one single brand, as New Zealand does.


  • Establish a transparent annual medicines budget that includes new investment in community and hospital medicines to meet the OECD average of up to 1.4% of GDP by 2023. This new investment includes establishment of a specific rare disorder medicines fund of $30 million per annum
  • Fund new Diabetes medicines which have been proven to reduce the negative side effects that diabetics experience
  • Establish a clear and transparent process with a 1-year timeline for technical review (health technology assessment) by the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) of medicines and establish a 90-day time limit for PHARMAC assessment of new medicines after a positive technical recommendation from PTAC
  • Increase funding for Arthritis early intervention programmes to develop awareness and education workforce programmes for treatment and management of arthritis.
  • Establish a $100 million rapid access scheme for innovative medicines 
  • Major clinical conditions to be funded for further research and investment to ensure they are managed effectively include Arthritis, Crohn’s, Colitis, Diabetes, Dementia and Depression.
  • Establish a $50 million new medicines industry development partnership programme to match industry investment in local R&D, data analytics, manufacturing.
  • Support the redevelopment of a New Zealand based pharmaceutical manufacturing industry
  • Establish a New Zealand quality standard for New Zealand manufacturers and exporters in the Natural Health industry and other stakeholders to ensure that there is an appropriate regulatory regime for complementary medicines.