Paying for costly pharmaceuticals: regulation of new drugs in Australia, England and New Zealand

Med J Aust. 2008 Jan 7;188(1):26-8. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb01500.x.


The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand use different criteria for public funding of pharmaceuticals, but all include estimates of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Drug appraisal is done through the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in Australia, and the Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC) in NZ. Of the 10 drugs deemed least cost-effective by NICE between 1996 and 2005, all were approved for funding in the UK, six were approved in Australia and five were approved in NZ. Australia and NZ refused funding for drugs for obesity, influenza and growth deficiency. All three countries made exceptions in order to fund drugs of poor cost-effectiveness for some "dread" diseases, but some drugs for less alarming conditions were either not funded or heavily restricted.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Approval / economics
  • Drug Approval / legislation & jurisprudence
  • England
  • Government Agencies
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug*
  • National Health Programs*
  • New Zealand
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / economics*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations