Dedicated PHARMAC Cancer Fund


Too many New Zealanders are having to go overseas for treatments because PHARMAC won’t fund new drugs to save lives. Some cancer patients are setting up Givealittle pages to crowdsource funding for life saving drugs. Labour has underfunded PHARMAC this year by only providing a 1 per cent increase in its funding whilst finding billions of dollars for fees free, rail and political slush funds.

The previous National Government boosted annual investment in PHARMAC by $220m over nine years. That meant around 820,000 New Zealanders benefited from extra investment in new PHARMAC funded medicines. The current Government hasn’t even invested enough to keep up with population growth or inflation.

What will we do?

National will:

  • Ring-fence an extra $50m a year ($200m over four years) for more, effective cancer drugs. If they don’t use it, they don’t get it
  • Direct PHARMAC – within its current parameters – to fund cancer drugs that would improve outcomes for as many as possible
  • Ensure those cancer drugs go to those who need them, so PHARMAC will need to make sure they are as affordable and as accessible to as many New Zealanders as possible
  • Expect the cancer drugs PHARMAC buy from this fund to be those that demonstrate high levels of effectiveness internationally. We don’t want just more drugs – we want drugs that will save lives

What will this do for PHARMAC funding?

This will ensure PHARMAC can continue to provide the current medicines it does, as well as focus on providing access to more treatment for cancer. This Government has underfunded PHARMAC because of poor spending spending choices – the next National Government will not make the same mistake.

You can view our Policy Factsheet here.