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Brand and funding changes
Varenicline tartrate (Varenicline Pfizer) - new listing to replace ChampixFrom 1 January we will be listing the Varenicline Pfizer brand of varenicline tartrate. There will be two pack sizes, a starter pack containing enough for the first four weeks's supply (11 x 0.5 mg tablets and 42 x 1 mg tablets), and a 56 tablet pack of 1 mg tablets, for the remainder of the 12-week treatment. Champix will be delisted and Varenicline Pfizer will be the sole subsidised brand from 1 June 2019.
Iron Polymaltose (Ferrosig) - new listingFrom 1 January we will be listing the Ferrosig brand of iron polymaltose injection 50 mg per ml, 2 ml ampoule.
Insulin pumps - new listings
From 1 November 2018, we listed two new insulin pumps, the MiniMed 640G and the Tandem t:slim X2.
People who are eligible to start on an insulin pump or if the warrantee has expired on their current pump, can choose which pump they would like to start on or change to.
People using an Animas Vibe pump or 50X 3.0 Reservoir will need to change to a new pump.
People may like to discuss their needs with their diabetes healthcare team.
Lithium carbonate 400 mg tablets discontinuation
The supplier has discontinued Lithicarb FC, 400 mg lithium carbonate tablets. Patients can switch to the 400 mg long-acting tablet (Priadel). The 250 mg tablets remain available for now and the 250 mg capsules will remain available.
Patients changing to a different formulation will require monitoring of their serum lithium concentrations. More information on this can be found on the New Zealand Formulary.
We have advised prescribers of the discontinuation.
More information is in the November Pharmaceutical Schedule Update
Diabetes meters and strips
If you are using CareSens II, Freestyle Optium/Neo and Accu-Chek Performa meters, you'll need to change to a new meter. After 31 July 2018, we won't fund test strips for these meters.
Isotretinoin - brand change
The funded brand of isotretinoin will change from 1 August 2018. From 1 October 2018, there may be a part charge for Isotane. From 1 January 2019, Oratane will be the only brand funded. Isotane will no longer be funded.
Pipothiazine palmitate (Piportil) discontinuation
Any remaining patients prescribed pipothiazine palmitate (Piportil) should be switched to alternative treatments. Remaining stock is due to expire 30 September 2018 (50 mg) and 31 December 2018 (100 mg).
Paracetamol 500 mg tablets - restrictions
The supplier of paracetamol 500 mg tablets has not been able to supply sufficient volume of this product. The shortage has meant that we have needed to put some restrictions in place.
HPV vaccine (Gardasil)
This stock issue is now resolved.
Medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera) - removal of stat dispensing
From 1 January 2018 until 31 January 2019, stat (three months all-at-once) dispensing will be removed from medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera) tablets due to a potential supply issue.
Due to a shortage of the 500 mg tablets, we have listed a new brand of 250 mg tablets and changed the restriction for 250 mg tablets so they can be used for h pylori treatment.
Diclofenac sodium (Apo-Diclo SR) 75 mg tablets
We have temporarily removed stat dispensing (thee months all-at-once) for diclofenac sodium 75 mg tablets due to a supply issue.
Ivacaftor (Kaledeco) for cystic fibrosis
PHARMAC received a funding application from the supplier of ivacaftor in 2015. and we will be considering this using our usual processes. PTAC reviewed the application and recommended funding be declined. The Committee considered that, it is not a cure and the data is too immature to determine survival benefit yet.
In September 2018, as part of our call for funding applications for supply of medicines for rare disorders, we received an updated submission from the suppier, Vertex. This information will be considered by our Rare Disorders Subcommittee in November 2018.
We havent received a funding application fo rlumacaftir/ivacaftor (Orkambi).
Palbociclib (Ibrance) and trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) breast cancer treatments.
PHARMAC received a funding application for palbociclib (Ibrance) as initial endocrine therapy for patients with locall advanced or metastatic, HER2-negative, HR-positive breast cancer in February 2018.
We also received an application for trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) for use as a second-line treatment for patients with HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer who have already been treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and a taxane in August 2018.
We sought expert clinical advice on these applications from our Cancer Treatments Subcommittee at its September 2018 meeting. You can follow progress of these applications on our application tracker.
Pangenotypic hepatitis C treatment
We will be funding glecaprevir and pibrentasvir (Maviret) from 1 February 2019. Maviret can be prescribed for people with hepatitis C regardless of the type of hepatitis C virus they have.
Doctors are now able to prescribe medicines that contain cannabidiol (CBD). PHARMAC takes a consistent and evidence-based approach to consider the funding of any medicine. No application for funding any products that contain cannabidiol has yet demonstrated to us that it is the next best use of the public funds available for medicines. Contact Ministry of Health to find out more about prescribing cannabis-based products
Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system
We are now assessing funding applications for Freestyle Libre.
Last updated: 17 December 2018