Patients fighting for funding for expensive medicines have been urged to make better use of international human rights standards.
The call came at a meeting, organised by the Organisation For Rare Disorders, on the lack of access to specialised medicines.
Auckland human rights lawyer Khris Gledhill told the gathering New Zealand signed key international covenants in 1978.
He said the covenants guarantee the right of everybody to the highest attainable standard of health, and that cannot be affected by resource constraints such as funding.
Mr Gledhill said only 25 complaints have been made by New Zealanders under the standards in the past 23 years, and the covenants should be used more.