New Zealand is looking to urgently strengthen health systems in the Pacific, as it faces a growing burden from at-risk neighbours.
This would build on existing plans to open up New Zealand's drug buying agency PHARMAC to Pacific Island countries after a feasibility study completed in September.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned of a "potentially unsustainable demand" on its health systems from Pacific Realm countries and others in the region, according to a December report obtained under the Official Information Act.
"These countries look to New Zealand to address significant health challenges resulting in a major, and growing, burden on the New Zealand system," the document said.
"The urgency of addressing this situation is exacerbated by the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Pacific."
The government also considers migration between New Zealand and the Pacific a growing health risk for the region.
Oceania, which includes Australia and Pacific Island countries, is by far New Zealand's biggest tourism market, bringing in around 220,000 people each year, according to the latest government figures. Regional travel is also constant for many of the nearly 300,000 Pacific peoples in New Zealand.
"Climate change will increase this movement, with potential for the spread of new infectious diseases posing a threat to the Pacific countries and New Zealand alike," the December document stated.
Recognising the regular flow of peoples between New Zealand and the Pacific, the Foreign Ministry is planning to build "health corridors" which would improve access to drugs and services.
"The role of diaspora in providing support will be critical," the report said.
It added that the government must consider "innovative overseas development assistance initiatives," including deploying more health professionals to the Pacific.
A business case for improving access to essential medicines in the Pacific will be presented this month.
The PHARMAC plans, which are one option being considered, would open up access to the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu.
The government is considering expanding the programme to other Pacific Island countries as well.
Australia appears to be backing the move, having undertaken its own study into improving access to essential medicines in the Pacific in 2017.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade "recommended procurement through the New Zealand pharmaceutical supply chain," documents showed.