Some sick Kiwis are going without vital prescriptions because they can't afford the $5 charge, new research shows.
The Otago University study shows those with multiple health problems are among those most likely to go without medicine.
Professor Pauline Norris says some low-income earners go without, so their children can have theirs.
"A lot of people think that $5 is not very much," she says. "The problem is that some people have a lot of health problems and need a lot of medicines. If you need 10 medicines at once then that's $50."
Prof. Norris says while the charge is relatively small compared to other nations, everyone in New Zealand from age 13 has to pay.