Evaluating New Zealanders' Values for Drug Coverage Decision Making: Trade-Offs between Treatments for Rare and Common Conditions

Pharmacoeconomics. 2021 Jan;39(1):109-119. doi: 10.1007/s40273-020-00974-8. Epub 2020 Nov 5.


Background: New Zealand's near static healthcare budget limits access to expensive medications including those for rare conditions. As such, it is necessary to know the public's priority for values in the drug funding decision-making process.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to measure the relative societal importance of values of New Zealanders in informing drug funding decisions and to determine how New Zealanders trade off funding in various scenarios between common and rare diseases.

Methods: An online survey was conducted between 17 April and 17 May, 2019 on a sample of 500 New Zealanders aged ≥ 18 years. Participants ranked 13 values using an analytical hierarchy process. Participants were then presented with different trade-off scenarios to measure their attitudes towards funding drugs for common and rare diseases.

Results: The values ranked in the top five by most were potential effect on quality of life (71.8%), ability of the drug to work (57.6%), severity (57.6%), safety (57%), and potential to extend life (56%). Adherence and rarity held the lowest and second lowest ranking. Most believe that resources should be allocated towards drugs that have been proven to work and have the greatest health benefits. In trade-offs between access to an expensive drug therapy for a rare disease with uncertain benefits or receive a fixed cash payment, the overwhelming consensus was to receive the cash payment.

Conclusions: New Zealanders ultimately value drug-related factors (e.g. quality of life and efficacy) and disease-related factors (e.g. severity of disease and equity) the most but did not value disease rarity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rare Diseases
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations