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Medication costs in NZ

Medication costs in NZ

Old Oct 26th 2013, 5:21 am
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Default Medication costs in NZ

Hi Folks, My spouse will be coming to settle with me in Chch next month and we have three children. My spouse is 38 and needs medication for high blood pressure she recently got, High cholesterol and Reflux which needs daily dosage of Nexium. In the UK she gets it for a low cost as she has a pre-paid annual certificate but what will be the situation in Chch? Will we have to shell out much more in NZ or will the NHS in NZ cover this cost as we have residency for NZ but I don't have a job in NZ yet and hoping to find a job after arriving there as we have a small house which belongs to a friend who has agreed to us renting it for the first 6 months while we settle down. Thanks for any advice. Cbank
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 6:01 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

there is no NHS in NZ. you pay for every Dr's visit and prescription.
are you sure you can get that medication over here, maybe worth finding out and making sure you can get an alternative if they don't do the exact same. Get her to stock up before she comes over, prescription costs are not set you pay what they ask for, it can be as little as a couple of dollars or into the $20's for other things.
also you have to find a Doctors that will fund you. unfunded clients for our doctors have to pay $80odd for an appt funded pay $48.50 per session.
children over the age of 5/6 also have to pay these amounts apart from some injections which are free
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 6:07 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

We read there were public clinics charging $15-20 for an appointment and a fixed $3/item medication prescription which can be up to 3 months dosage which seems good value. We are happy to have alternatives as surely people must be taking these medications in NZ - the generic names may be different but the chemical compounds will be similar. Not everyone in NZ pays $80 for an appointment - surely they go to ER instead where they will be seen in the hospital emergency for free and bypass the surgery system if the doctors were so expensive. Clearly the NHS is a much comprehensive and better system for healthcare when compared to NZ.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 6:37 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

Mrs Fychan is right that NZ do not have all the same medicines as the UK. Things like Baclofen have only been used here for 2 years whereas I had it over 10 years ago in the UK. You can't get effervescent co-codamol - I tried to buy some this week for my daughter and they looked at me as though I was from another planet. So do check that there is an equivalent. I haven't seen anyone prescribed Nexium either (I used to take that too) - and I work in healthcare.

Also, I haven't seen or heard of any clinics charging $15-$20 for a doctors appointment unless you are looking at prices for those who have a community service card (CSC) - which is means tested discount card - but your income and circumstances have to be quite low to get one. Also not sure if you have just arrived whether you qualify or there is a stand down period - maybe someone on else here has any knowledge around this.

Yes plenty of people do bypass the doctors charge and go to ED, but this is just clogging up the system for those in need of emergency treatment, and the routine prescription of drugs you have mentioned would really be an inappropriate use of this resource (ex ED nurse).

NZ healthcare and dental fees (a whole other story) are very very expensive, especially if you have long term health issues. Even the dying (I work in palliative care) have to pay every time the GP visits them, even at a time like that. My advice, really do your homework - its worth it!
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 6:53 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

Thanks a lot- if the patient knows the medication he/she needs can a prescription not be requested from a doctor without the need for a formal appointment. Also how do people get their cholesterol levels checked there? Do they get charged for checking lipid profiles etc.,,, although this is an annual check for most people and in the UK it would be free and a sample taken by the surgery nurse and you get the results 3 days later without it costing a penny! We have heard NZers have the worst teeth due to expensive dental costs - do they also have the worse cholesterol levels I wonder !!
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 6:54 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

It sounds like it would be useful for you to know about the Pharmacautical Subsidy Card for a start- this is the sort of thing that is best finding a friendly pharmacist to explain and sort for you. The other thing that can be useful is to discuss prescriptions with your Dr and ask for funded versions/ doses wherever possible. Sometimes one dose is funded, whereas another is not and it can be worth while discussing ways round that.
I use the pharmacy at the doc surgery, partially for convenience and partly cos one pharmacy makes it easier to tot up for PSC.

http://www.health.govt.nz/your-healt...l-subsidy-card
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 6:55 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

Charges are steeper but the care is proportional compared with the NHS
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:06 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

There is not a fixed fee for prescription medicines. There is a prescription contribution which will be minimal if the medicine is fully subsidised. If it is not , then you will pay a proportion of the costs. I've had to pay $1 a tablet for a certain prescribed pain relief before now.

My OH's thyroid med is fully subsidised so he pays the minimal fee to the pharmacy + $10 for a prescription renewal + the GP visit fee if that is required .

Nexium does not appear to be available in NZ.

Non-residents can pay a good $80 to see a GP. So can those visiting an out of hours doctor. Our own GP fee is $37 for 15 minutes.
I've not heard of public clinics . There is a community card to get reduced fees . That is income related.

Yes. People do use the ER to try to circumnavigate the system with regards to costs. It does clog the ER and can result in many hours wait.

Contact a ChCh general practice surgery and ask them.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:07 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

Hi again

No you can't request the medication specifically as it has to be approved by Pharmac otherwise you would have to source/pay privately for it and the cost would be prohibitive I would think. You can easily get omeprazole, and you can even buy it over the counter, but I haven't seen Nexium.

Blood tests cost around $8 each time you have one taken.

Yes the system is efficient if you are paying for it - you get more time with the GP, bloods done quickly with results fast too, BUT, if you want care of the public system you can be referred but you can also be declined. This has happened to us twice now - one with my daughter who has developed an auto-immune disorder and the hospital declined her referral and it was her dentist who diagnosed it! And once for myself, and I've had to fund what I need privately.

As for dentistry, my last filling was 2 years ago and cost $400 and that was a small front tooth and my elder daughter (25) is having 6 teeth out on Tuesday due to this autoimmune disorder and it is costing her $2500!!! And she can't have it done on the public system

Sorry its not all good news, it is nothing like the NHS, and it is expensive.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:11 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

That is well expensive and surely you must be angry about it. What do they charge people in NZ for heart by pass surgeries, for chemotherapy, for a liver transplant, perhaps they take the homes of the patient as collateral?


Originally Posted by Sparkleydiva View Post
Hi again

No you can't request the medication specifically as it has to be approved by Pharmac otherwise you would have to source/pay privately for it and the cost would be prohibitive I would think. You can easily get omeprazole, and you can even buy it over the counter, but I haven't seen Nexium.

Blood tests cost around $8 each time you have one taken.

Yes the system is efficient if you are paying for it - you get more time with the GP, bloods done quickly with results fast too, BUT, if you want care of the public system you can be referred but you can also be declined. This has happened to us twice now - one with my daughter who has developed an auto-immune disorder and the hospital declined her referral and it was her dentist who diagnosed it! And once for myself, and I've had to fund what I need privately.

As for dentistry, my last filling was 2 years ago and cost $400 and that was a small front tooth and my elder daughter (25) is having 6 teeth out on Tuesday due to this autoimmune disorder and it is costing her $2500!!! And she can't have it done on the public system

Sorry its not all good news, it is nothing like the NHS, and it is expensive.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:16 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

Originally Posted by citybanklondon View Post
Thanks a lot- if the patient knows the medication he/she needs can a prescription not be requested from a doctor without the need for a formal appointment. Also how do people get their cholesterol levels checked there? Do they get charged for checking lipid profiles etc.,,, although this is an annual check for most people and in the UK it would be free and a sample taken by the surgery nurse and you get the results 3 days later without it costing a penny! We have heard NZers have the worst teeth due to expensive dental costs - do they also have the worse cholesterol levels I wonder !!
You will prolly need to see dr and then you maybe can get a repeat prescription- but I don't know, tho will be similar to the UK.
I actually don't begrudge the dr visit cost for me because as a middle income earning family i think it's preferable to pay upfront and always be able to get an appointment the day i want it, usually the time i want it and with a dr who has double the consult time i got in the UK. I don't think it's a perfect system and I dislike very much the inequality but the NHS is not utopia. As for more complex stuff, I have no personal experience and have heard mixed reviews anecdotally. Some aspects of health care here are quite superior to what you might experience on the NHS, whereas other things are definitely more challenging; it's different.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:17 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

I'm sorry if you think I am angry

I work in the healthcare system, recently for Waitemata DHB and now in palliative care - so you may not like what I write,but I merely write about what I deal with day in day out.

Unfortunately if you do not want to hear how it is here then please do not ask. I am merely stating what is happening, what is real. The ideology posted about NZ is not always the reality.

And if you are coming here, or your partner, with a pre-known medical condition then I think it realistic to be prepared for the reality of the costs of healthcare. It is not the UK, you do not get the same free service that is provided back home. It is expensive, you pay for every appointment, test and treatment and I have certainly found there is an expectation from GPs that you have private medical cover - although that is not possible for pre-existing medical conditions, therefore you have to pay for it.

Take from it what you will, it is your choice... and mine is just one observation amongst many, but it is from a healthcare persective
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:18 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

My bloods are checked yearly for all the usuals inc prostrate and the charge is $5. Results are returned within 2 days. My Doc is available on the day of calling (weekdays) my charge will be $37 and my prescriptions (hypertension) are $5 each for 3 months supply (subsidised). The level of care I get I am pleased with.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:21 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

Originally Posted by Sparkleydiva View Post
I'm sorry if you think I am angry

I work in the healthcare system, recently for Waitemata DHB and now in palliative care - so you may not like what I write,but I merely write about what I deal with day in day out.

Unfortunately if you do not want to hear how it is here then please do not ask. I am merely stating what is happening, what is real. The ideology posted about NZ is not always the reality.

And if you are coming here, or your partner, with a pre-known medical condition then I think it realistic to be prepared for the reality of the costs of healthcare. It is not the UK, you do not get the same free service that is provided back home. It is expensive, you pay for every appointment, test and treatment and I have certainly found there is an expectation from GPs that you have private medical cover - although that is not possible for pre-existing medical conditions, therefore you have to pay for it.

Take from it what you will, it is your choice... and mine is just one observation amongst many, but it is from a healthcare persective
Not sure why you're getting snotty- the poster seemed to me to be offering you commiserations!

You're not the only one with healthcare experience 'from the other side of the fence' as it were, and I stand by my opinion that it is not all much worse.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 7:22 am
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Default Re: Medication costs in NZ

Originally Posted by citybanklondon View Post
if the patient knows the medication he/she needs can a prescription not be requested from a doctor without the need for a formal appointment.
Sometimes but not always. GPs like to check on the patients they are making repeat prescriptions for. Our surgery phones up when a visit is required.


Also how do people get their cholesterol levels checked there?
Make an appointment with the surgery nurse or go to a medlab and have the results sent to your GP.

I have to say here, that as you will soon be in NZ , comparing to the UK NHS is a bit fruitless.

Originally Posted by bourbon biscuit
Sometimes one dose is funded, whereas another is not and it can be worth while discussing ways round that.
Really good point.

Do you have a private healthcare policy at all?
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