28 May 2013

Ad campaign for drug 'will push up costs'

7:25 am on 28 May 2013

A psychiatrist says a new advertising campaign for an antipsychotic drug will push up costs for taxpayers without providing significant benefits for patients.

The ad for schizophrenia drug Risperdal Consta has appeared on television in the past week, with the selling point that it is injected once a fortnight instead of being taken daily in tablet form.

Documents from the Government drug buying agency Pharmac show the injection costs $230 for a typical dose, 46 times that of an equivalent number of tablets.

Auckland University associate professor of psychiatry David Menkes says the injections were originally developed to be forcibly administered to patients who refuse oral medications or who are so ill they are unable to remember to take them.

New Zealand and the United States are the only developed countries in the world to allow ads for prescription medicines and some health experts want the practice banned.