Access Equity

Not all New Zealanders are achieving best health outcomes from medicines funded by PHARMAC. We don’t think this is acceptable, so we’re striving to eliminate inequities in access to medicines by 2025.

Right now, we’re focusing on understanding why people don’t – or can’t – access funded medicines, starting with population groups that we know face health inequities. This will help us make it so everyone can have a fair opportunity to access funded medicines.

We've developed a discussion paper about why people are missing out on funded medicines. We'd appreciate your feedback.

Achieving medicine access equity in Aotearoa New Zealand: towards a theory of change

We also commissioned a literature review to identity barriers in access to medicines:

Equitable access to medicines via primary healthcare - a review of the literature [PDF, 935 KB]

We can’t achieve this alone – we have to work together across the health system.

If you want to learn more about what improved medicine access equity means, contact our Access Equity team at

Aim - To eliminate inequities in access to medicines by 2025

Primary drivers Secondary drivers PHARMAC's role
Medicine availability PHARMAC’s decision making processes for investment in medicines Control
Funding restrictions and schedule rules Control
Prescriber awareness of funded medicine(s) available Role
Medicine accessibility Physical & timely access to a prescriber/prescription Influence
Physical & timely access to a community pharmacy Influence
Physical & timely access to diagnostic and monitoring services, eg labs, scans Influence
Medicine affordability Prescriber costs, eg consult, repeat prescription & medicine administration fees Influence
Prescription costs, eg co-payment, blister pack costs, prescription subsidy card Influence
Indirect costs, eg transport, time off work, childcare Influence
Medicine acceptability Patient/whānau experiences bias from the health system Influence
Beliefs and perceptions of treatment prescribed not adequately explored/sought Role
Medicine suitability not adequately considered Role
Patient/whānau is not empowered with knowledge about the medicine(s) Role
Medicine appropriateness Medicine therapy prescribed is inadequate Role
Unwarranted variation in prescribing Role