New Zealanders want drug companies and government to spend more on health research

By Martin Johnston

New Zealanders' top priority for the Government is to improve hospitals and the health care system, a survey found. Photo / Dean Purcell
New Zealanders' top priority for the Government is to improve hospitals and the health care system, a survey found. Photo / Dean Purcell

Most Kiwis want the private sector to fork out more for health and medical research, a new opinion survey has found.

The online survey of 504 adults by Roy Morgan Research found 86 per cent wanted private sector businesses such as pharmaceutical companies to stump up more for health research.

This was slightly more than the 83 per cent who wanted the Government to cough up more.

Read more: Health R&D to get $97m boost

Fifty-eight per cent thought charities should be channelling more of their resources into health research, and 31 per cent wanted individuals to pay more.

The survey was commissioned by a new public education and advocacy alliance called New Zealanders for Health Research, whose members include pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, charities and patient advocacy groups. The alliance's aim is to make health research a higher priority in New Zealand.

The survey also investigated how much Kiwis donate for health research.

"While the vast majority of New Zealanders don't think individuals should have to pay more towards health and medical research," a report on the survey says, "50 per cent already make donations into this area annually."

When it came to the sums involved, 1 per cent reported donating more than $500 a year; 11 per cent gave between $101 and $500; 38 per cent gave $1-$100; 28 per cent didn't donate; 15 per cent didn't know; and 7 per cent preferred not to say.

Reasons for not donating were: it was the Government's responsibility, 76 per cent; the person supported charities in other areas, 77 per cent; couldn't afford it, 76 per cent; didn't know, 59 per cent; hadn't been asked, 44 per cent; and didn't know how money given for health research was spent, 74 per cent.

New Zealanders put a lot of store by the value of health research: 69 per cent said it was part of the solution to reducing health care costs. In an Australian survey, 74 per cent agreed with this proposition, while in the United States, 46 per cent agreed.

Other findings from the survey:
When asked to rank 26 issues by the importance the Government should place on them, the top 10 were:
• 1. Improving hospitals and the health care system
• 2. Improving education standards and outcomes
• 3. Keeping the national economy strong
• 4. Improving employment opportunities
• 5. Addressing domestic and family violence
• 6. More funding for health and medical research
• 7. Managing the Government budget
• 8. Improving national infrastructure, including water quality, rail and roads
• 9. Creating more skilled jobs and apprenticeships
• 10. Increasing preventative health care funding and programmes

- NZ Herald

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