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Allergy Today From Mark's Desk: Free Membership

Membership of Allergy New Zealand is now FREE for everyone!Mark Dixon

At our AGM this year it was unanimously agreed by current members that the annual membership fee paid to belong and support Allergy New Zealand would be revoked. So, for the first time in over 35 years you can support the work of Allergy New Zealand and access member benefits without needing to pay any joining or membership fees. It really is free!

We need to encourage more people to join Allergy New Zealand and we don’t want a membership fee to get in the way of that. Of course all donations are still very gratefully received but we believe we can be more creative about how and where we source funding to deliver what our members want.

Our website will be updated in the New Year to reflect this. In the meantime, disregard any references on the website to membership fees. All shop-online orders will be taken at the member pricing for the time being.

Until our website is updated, if you would like to join, please email and we will send you the membership information including a copy of Allergy New Zealand’s Constitution.

For those who are already members, your membership will automatically continue unless you email to opt out. The information on our website is now accessible to all visitors - – no logins or passwords required. You will receive our two-monthly Allergy Today e-newsletter, and get a 10% discount on anything you purchase through our Shop Online here.

We would love our existing members and subscribers to please share this exciting news with family, friends and workmates to encourage them to sign up!

To make our voice stronger on behalf of the allergy community, we need a big boost in memberships!

The Allergy Season

These warmer, blustery days cause a pollen explosion that heralds the start of our flowering season, and for approximately 30% of New Zealand’s population, it also means an increasing part of the weekly budget will be spent on antihistamines and tissues.

The Allergy Season is here.

We are all aware of growing numbers of friends and family who sink beneath a pile of tissues or have to ring in sick at this time of year. They suffer from airborne allergies. And yes, the pollen burst is earlier and longer these days. Microscopic pollen attach to the thin membranes inside the nose, mouth and eyes, and the proteins inside these pollen are absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream. For those who are not susceptible, nothing unusual happens. For those who have allergic rhinitis (hayfever) an allergic reaction is triggered, and it’s not long before their nose is running, eyes itching or burning, and in more severe cases hives and urticaria can result.

Please support those afflicted. It is not their choice and there is currently no cure. It is not something they suffer from because of poor health management. Sleep is difficult, mornings are worse and most soldier on making huge efforts not to be any trouble to others. Unfortunately for most of us there is no respite until the grasses stop flowering and in our longer warmer summers grasses can flower multiple times as conditions allow.

FundaPen™ Update 

We have had a hugely positive response to our collaboration with Pub Charity, and the national network of authorised EpiPen® prescribers – Clinicians, GPs and Nurse Practitioners.

We have already provided free EpiPen® auto-injectors to 350 low income NZ families who support children with allergies who are at risk of anaphylaxis. FundaPen™ has received an overwhelming level of national support from General Practices, paediatric departments and nurse practitioners. Articles have been published and broadcast across all major media outlets and the launch post on our Allergy NZ Facebook page attracted more than 13,000 engagements.

As well as reaching families in need of FundaPen™, we see the high level of interest in this initiative and the large number of personal anecdotes that have been shared, as evidence of just how much New Zealanders need affordable access to this medicine.

What’s next?

As you know, EpiPens are not publicly funded by PHARMAC and they have been on the waiting list for funding longer than any other current medicine. At a cost of between $120 and $350 each year, this potentially life-saving medicine is unaffordable for many New Zealand families. The donation from Pub Charity has meant that 2500 children will receive a free EpiPen® auto-injector over the next year but this is a short-term solution to an ongoing issue.

We will be keeping you up-to-date with the hugely positive impact we are achieving with the FundaPen™ initiative. By actively engaging all prescribing authorities for adrenaline auto-injectors in this programme, we hope to add their professional clout to our call for the Government/PHARMAC’s immediate review of the funding priority for EpiPen® auto-injectors.

Allergy New Zealand and Pub Charity are not appropriate or sustainable funders of an emergency medicine that should be in all first aid kits in New Zealand!

The Allergy New Zealand team wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. Thank you all for your support of our growing local allergy community and we look forward to welcoming our new members!

Merry Christmas

Mark Dixon, CEO Allergy NZ