The eye-watering costs of non-PHARMAC drugs 

Here are some examples of treatment options and their potential out-of-pocket expenses without PHARMAC funding:  

  • Ustekinumab – Newsroom reports that it would cost patients suffering from bowel disease $35,000 a year for the first year and $27,000 a year after that.   
  • Keytruda – currently only funded for the treatment of melanoma, but can help in the treatment of other types of cancer. Non-melanoma patients would have to fork out more than $60,000 a year, and with administration costs that could bump the total cost up to $100,000.  
  • Tafinlar – one of the most advanced treatment options for melanoma, Tafinlar can cost up to $132,000 a year. 

So what are my options?  

Without health insurance, these daunting amounts often force people to move overseas for treatment, seek donations or forgo treatment all together.  

To help bridge this gap, our non-PHARMAC Plus add-on option provides access to many Medsafe-approved drugs not funded by PHARMAC. It also covers the related administration costs, making treatment of cancer and other serious conditions with non-PHARMAC drugs more accessible, in a private hospital and at home*. 

Without health insurance, these daunting amounts often force people to move overseas for treatment, seek donations or forgo treatment all together.  

About non-PHARMAC Plus 

Non-PHARMAC Plus can be added to nib’s eligible Hospital plans, and includes flexible benefit limits ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 per member per year. Together with our comprehensive health insurance benefits, we’re here to provide peace of mind for you and your family. 

If you’d like to find out more about non-PHARMAC Plus, go to nib.co.nz/compare-plans.  

New members can buy non-PHARMAC Plus with a Hospital plan by heading to https://join.nib.co.nz/quick-quote.

If you’re already an nib member with a Hospital plan, it’s easy to add an option to your existing policy – simply send us your details using our online form.  

*The drugs must be prescribed by a registered specialist under the Medsafe guidelines, used in a recognised NZ based private hospital, day stay unit or a private wing of a public hospital or used at home for up to six months after you are admitted for treatment for an approved related treatment. Policy terms and conditions (including exclusions) apply.


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