Approval & funding of medicines in New Zealand

The approval and funding of medicines in New Zealand can be hard to understand. This section aims to help you make sense of the registration and funding processes.

Medicines approval
All registered medicines available in New Zealand are approved for use by Medsafe. Medsafe assesses medicines to make sure they meet acceptable standards, including efficacy, quality and safety. Funding of medicines is a separate process that is usually only considered after a medicine has been approved for use in New Zealand.

Medicines funding
Government funding of a medicine is managed by the governmental organisation called PHARMAC. Each year, PHARMAC is given a set amount of money to buy medicines for New Zealanders. PHARMAC’s role is to decide which medicines get funding from their budget and as a result, they can only fund some medicines.

As new medicines become available, PHARMAC has to make hard decisions about whether to fund them or not.

Just because PHARMAC doesn’t fund a medicine, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. There are many medicines that have been approved by Medsafe that do not receive PHARMAC funding.