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Massive support across the political spectrum to keep prescriptions free for all: Talbot Mills poll

A new poll shows free prescriptions for all is "one of the most popular policies ever", even as the National Party plans to bring back prescription fees for most people.

The Talbot Mills Research poll released today found 86% of New Zealanders support keeping universal fees-free prescriptions, including most of the Coalition Government’s supporters: 76% of National voters, 75% of ACT voters, and 92% of New Zealand First voters.

"This overwhelming support shows the public appreciates the huge community benefits of free prescriptions for everyone," said Prescription Access Initiative (PAI) spokesperson and Mangawhai community pharmacist Lanny Wong. "It’s rare to find such high agreement across the political spectrum, but the positive effects of universal free prescriptions are strong enough to bridge the divide.

" She said the Government has the power to keep prescribed medicines free for everyone as its supporters want, without compromising healthcare elsewhere. "National can keep its election campaign health pledges without taxing sick people via prescription fees."

PAI research released last month found the universal removal of "patient copayment" prescriptions fees in July 2023 has led to better healthcare access, preventative care, patient safety and continuity of care, as well as elimination of patient shame around cost.

"If the National Party brings back prescription fees for most people, it will make healthcare availability worse for everyone, and create red tape and cost inefficiencies," said Wong. "And, as this poll shows, universal fees-free prescriptions is one of the most popular policies ever."

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