The process for assessing over-the-counter (or OTC) medicines has just become more efficient, thanks to system reforms that will be rolled out over the next 12 months.
The planned reforms were introduced yesterday (April 18) by New Zealand's minister of health Tony Ryall and Australia's parliamentary secretary for health and ageing, Shayne Neumann.
The reforms are the result of 18 months of trans-Tasman collaboration, with regulators, industry experts and consumers all being involved in their creation.
The goal of these new-and-improved processes is to "introduce more predictability for companies wishing to supply OTC medicines in Australia and New Zealand", said Mr Neumann.
He is promising "greater transparency and a faster process without compromising the level of scrutiny applied" to each and every medicine that is produced.
The majority of Australians pay the Medicare Levy in order to access free public hospital care and receive assistance with doctors' fees. This levy, however, does not cover purchased medicines.
And while some medicines will be subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), the rest you will be required to pay for out of your own pocket.
A private health insurance policy could potentially help you to cover the cost of over-the-counter medicines.