Evaluating general practitioners' opinions on issues concerning access to medicines in New Zealand

Zaheer Ud Din Babar, Charon Lessing, Joanna Stewart, Janie Sheridan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this study was to explore general practitioners' opinions regarding access to medicine issues in New Zealand (NZ). Methods: In NZ, general practitioners' (GPs) practices are enrolled with primary health organisations (PHOs). GPs were asked to complete a questionnaire while attending a monthly PHO meeting during August-October 2010. Of the 11 PHOs invited to participate, two declined. Two hundred and twenty-five questionnaires were distributed at the PHO meetings and 173 completed questionnaires were returned (response rate of 77%). Key findings: Half (53%) of the GPs agreed that the range of medicines available in NZ was adequate to treat all health conditions; however, 54% felt that NZ takes too long to register newer medicines available in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Seventy-five per cent had wanted to prescribe a medicine that was not fully funded in NZ in the 6 months prior to the survey. Over half (58%) believed that government policies of sole supply and reference pricing negatively impacted on clinical decisions. Fifty-six per cent believed that the Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand (PHARMAC) was effective in managing the budget for community medicines. Conclusion: GPs have the opinion that the medicines are sufficiently available to treat the conditions they saw in their daily practice. However, the majority of the GPs felt that the NZ is slower to fund new medicines. This study highlights that PHARMAC can enhance its relationship with prescribers in NZ, including clarifying channels of communication, funding new medicines and participation in the decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


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