Post sponsored by NewzEngine.com

Source: Pharmac

9 March 2020 

[name and contact details redacted] 

Dear [redacted] 

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION 

Thank you for your email of 10 February 2020, asking for the following information:

  • The current size of the New Zealand drug market
  • The top 100 medicines used, by volume
  • The top 100 medicines used, by cost (price)
  • Any information about the consumption rates of these medicines
  • Any information on the current/future trends in this changing market, especially with reference to Government policies for the next five years

Your request for this information has been considered under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA).

I have addressed each of your questions in order, below.

The current size of the New Zealand drug market

PHARMAC manages the funding that the Government has allocated for pharmaceuticals.  This is known as the Combined Pharmaceutical Budget (CPB).  In the 2018-19 financial year, the CPB was $985 million and it funded 47.2 million prescription items. 

There are a significant number of unfunded pharmaceuticals used in New Zealand in addition to those that are funded, but PHARMAC does not have insight into the unfunded market.  As such, PHARMAC does not hold information about the total size of the New Zealand drug market and this part of your request is refused under section 18(g) of the OIA, on the grounds that the information is not held by PHARMAC and we have no reason to believe it is held by another agency. 

The top 100 medicines used, by volume

We have interpreted your request as being for the 100 most-widely dispensed funded pharmaceuticals in New Zealand, determined by the number of dispensings. 

This information is provided as Appendix One.  This is for the period from 01 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.

The top 100 medicines used, by cost (price)

We have interpreted your request as being for the 100 most-costly funded pharmaceuticals in New Zealand, determined by their cost to PHARMAC. 

This information is attached as Appendix Two, for the period from 01 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.

Note that this list does not include any drug with pre-agreed expenditure, such as vaccines, or unfunded medicines.

Any information about the consumption rates of these medicines

You clarified in a subsequent email on 11 February that you were interested in the ratio between prescriptions prescribed and prescriptions dispensed, and data on the rates of prescriptions collected and then actually used.

PHARMAC does not collect this type of information about consumption rates of medicines.  In this respect, this part of your request is refused under section 18(g) of the OIA, as the information is not held by PHARMAC, and we have no reason to believe it is held by another agency.

Any information on the current/future trends in this changing market, especially with reference to Government policies for the next five years

PHARMAC does not have any specific documents relevant to your request.  Accordingly, this part of your request is refused under section 18(g) of the OIA, on the grounds that the document is not held by PHARMAC, and we have no reason to believe it is held by another agency.  However, I refer you to the following publicly available documents:

  • PHARMAC’s Statement of Intent describes its operational focus until June 2021.  It also provides an overview of PHARMAC’s longer term strategy by 2025.  The Statement of Intent is available on PHARMAC’s website at:

www.pharmac.govt.nz/assets/statement-of-intent-2017-18-2020-21.pdf(external link)

  • OECD’s 2018 publication entitled OECD Health Policy Studies: Pharmaceutical Innovation and Access to Medicines describes recent trends in pharmaceutical expenditure and financing and the challenges facing the industry and governments.  This document is available on OECD’s website at:

www.oecd.org/health/pharmaceutical-innovation-and-access-to-medicines-9789264307391-en.htm(external link)

We trust that this information answers your queries.  We are making our information more freely available, so we will now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

Yours sincerely

Rachel Read

Policy Manager, Engagement and Implementation 

Appendix One: Top 100 funded chemicals by number of dispensings

(01 July 2018 – 30 June 2019)

Ranked from highest number to lowest number:

Paracetamol
Atorvastatin
Omeprazole
Amoxicillin
Aspirin
Ibuprofen
Metoprolol succinate
Salbutamol
Cilazapril
Colecalciferol
Prednisone
Amoxicillin with clavulanic acid
Metformin hydrochloride
Levothyroxine
Zopiclone
Loratadine
Cetirizine hydrochloride
Codeine phosphate
Docusate sodium with sennosides
Fluticasone propionate
Felodipine
Flucloxacillin
Tramadol hydrochloride
Amlodipine
Simvastatin
Allopurinol
Diclofenac sodium
Furosemide [Frusemide]
Citalopram hydrobromide
Quinapril
Blood glucose diagnostic test strip
Candesartan cilexetil
Paracetamol with codeine
Celecoxib
Cetomacrogol with glycerol
Amitriptyline
Quetiapine
Doxycycline
Doxazosin
Fluticasone with salmeterol
Chloramphenicol
Hydrocortisone butyrate
Fluoxetine hydrochloride
Losartan potassium
Bendroflumethiazide [Bendrofluazide]
Ondansetron
Ethinyloestradiol with levonorgestrel
Cilazapril with hydrochlorothiazide
Fluticasone
Dabigatran
Hydrocortisone
Pantoprazole
Folic acid
Venlafaxine
Cefalexin
Diltiazem hydrochloride
Lactulose
Hydrocortisone with miconazole
Morphine sulphate
Naproxen
Budesonide with eformoterol
Gabapentin
Lorazepam
Warfarin sodium
Sertraline
Escitalopram
Roxithromycin
Sodium Fusidate [fusidic acid]
Nicotine
Clotrimazole
Trimethoprim
Nortriptyline hydrochloride
Insulin glargine
Gliclazide
Trimethoprim with sulphamethoxazole [Co-trimoxazole]
Bisoprolol fumarate
Clopidogrel
Hydrocortisone with natamycin and neomycin
Oestriol
Erythromycin ethyl succinate
Vitamins
Loperamide hydrochloride
Metronidazole
Insulin pen needles
Hydrogen peroxide
Methylphenidate hydrochloride
Ferrous fumarate
Hydroxocobalamin
Orphenadrine citrate
Clobetasol propionate
Diazepam
Ranitidine
Potassium iodate
Ferrous sulphate
Metoclopramide hydrochloride
Fluticasone furoate with vilanterol
Clonazepam
Sodium valproate
Betamethasone valerate
Methylphenidate hydrochloride


Appendix Two: Top 100 funded chemicals by total cost to PHARMAC ($)

(01 July 2018 – 30 June 2019)

NOTE: This does not include any drug with pre-agreed expenditure, e.g. vaccines.

Ranked from highest number to lowest number:

Adalimumab
Dabigatran
Trastuzumab
Pembrolizumab
Insulin glargine
Etanercept
Fluticasone with salmeterol
Abiraterone acetate
Lenalidomide
Budesonide with eformoterol
Rituximab
Bortezomib
Paliperidone
Dolutegravir
Blood glucose diagnostic test strip
Octreotide LAR (somatostatin analogue)
Dasatinib
Lamotrigine
Fluticasone furoate with vilanterol
Fingolimod
Epoetin alfa
Olanzapine
Mesalazine
Infliximab
Sodium valproate
Pegfilgrastim
Zoledronic acid
Pertuzumab
Salbutamol
Oral feed (powder)
Insulin aspart
Dimethyl fumarate
Tiotropium bromide
Rivaroxaban
Aflibercept
Umeclidinium
Nicotine
Natalizumab
Methylphenidate hydrochloride extended-release
Amino acid formula
Fluticasone
Imatinib mesilate
Insulin aspart with insulin aspart protamine
Bendamustine hydrochloride
Ticagrelor
Insulin pump
Sunitinib
Emtricitabine with tenofovir disoproxil
Ibuprofen
Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
Goserelin
Enoxaparin sodium
Paracetamol
Varenicline tartrate
Apomorphine hydrochloride
Betamethasone dipropionate with calcipotriol
Metoprolol succinate
Ciclosporin
Levothyroxine
Pancreatic enzyme
Tacrolimus
Nilotinib
Levetiracetam
Raltegravir potassium
Flecainide acetate
Buprenorphine with naloxone
Levonorgestrel
Tiotropium bromide with olodaterol
Pirfenidone
Risperidone
Umeclidinium with vilanterol
Atorvastatin
Secukinumab
Insulin lispro
Omeprazole
Ferric carboxymaltose
Morphine sulphate
Cilazapril
Insulin isophane
Pazopanib
Insulin lispro with insulin lispro protamine
Topiramate
Insulin isophane with insulin neutral
Ruxolitinib
Azacitidine
Warfarin sodium
Codeine phosphate
Entecavir
Melatonin
Levodopa with carbidopa
Aminoacid formula without phenylalanine
Carbamazepine
Venlafaxine
Glatiramer acetate
Abacavir sulphate with lamivudine
Hydrocortisone butyrate
Obinutuzumab
Nivolumab
Solifenacin succinate
Felodipine

Last updated: 7 May 2020

MIL OSI