It's deeply concerning that some Bay people are jeopardising their health because they cannot afford to pay for prescriptions.

Yesterday, the Bay of Plenty Times reported such concerns.

Ministry of Health pharmacy chief adviser Andi Shirtcliffe says there are many reasons why people do not choose to pick up their prescriptions, including mobility issues, adherence challenges, health literacy and personal beliefs.

However, the most recent health survey results notes that 7 per cent of adults reported not collecting a prescription due to cost.


Western Bay of Plenty PHO chief executive Roger Taylor says the inability to pay is "not a new reality, unfortunately".

Mr Taylor points out that it may create health risks in the future, which could require more serious care.

This trend could be extremely costly in the long run and this cost will no doubt fall on taxpayers.

Tauranga GP Tony Farrell supports Mr Taylor's view and said he has noticed the problem has gotten worse lately as people struggled with other costs.

Dr Farrell favours a graded system where patients with a Community Service Card could pay $3 and those who are better off could perhaps pay $8.

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand, which represents pharmacy owners believes all patients in New Zealand have a right to accessible and affordable medicine.

The guild is working to try to secure extra funding for families facing financial hardship by talking to WINZ and the Ministry of Social Development.

Hopefully it is successful in its bid. Access to affordable healthcare is important.

At the very least, the Government needs to look into this issue to assess the scale of the problem.