Few countries can afford to fund all pharmaceuticals for all of their people all of the time, and the current international economic climate brings this into clearer focus. Various agencies have tried to solve the problem in different ways, varying from funding a restricted list that applies to the whole population, to funding most medicines but with a significant part charge, or as in the United States, funding for only selected groups and leaving others to fend for themselves other than in an emergency. For countries like New Zealand and Australia who have universal health coverage but restricted (and different) lists of funded pharmaceuticals, comparisons of those lists can occur, but are problematic. Comparisons need to be interpreted with caution as systems and policies vary between countries. That one country funds more new medicines than the other is one thing, but the more important questions are whether one country gets more health gains and more value for precious health dollars than the other.