PHARMAC has decided to fund abiraterone (brand name Zytiga) from 1 May 2015.
This medicine will be funded for patients with advanced metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).
Abiraterone is a tablet, which means men with this form of prostate cancer will not need to go to hospital to receive their treatment.
A patient is eligible for a special authority application for abiraterone to be made on their behalf by their specialist when:
- they have been diagnosed with prostate cancer
- they have metastases and
- their disease is castration resistant (does not respond to anti-androgen therapy).
The special authority criteria also take into account:
- the patient’s symptoms
- previous therapies the patient has received
- the progression of their disease and
- whether or not they have had prior treatment with abiraterone.
Men who are currently self-funding abiraterone will be eligible for ongoing funding if they have met the Special Authority criteria prior to starting their abiraterone treatment.
PHARMAC has provided information about the decision to fund this medication(external link), including to specialists treating prostate cancer.
The following information may be helpful to you, or someone close to you, if you need this medication.
How do I access treatment?
If you have advanced prostate cancer, it is likely you will be under the care of a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, or a urologist. All of these specialists can apply for funding of abiraterone via a Special Authority criteria for subsidy and once approved you will be prescribed abiraterone. You can get your prescription filled at a community pharmacy. Your GP, once they have a recommendation from one of these specialists, can also apply for funding and prescribe abiraterone.
How do I take abiraterone?
When you are dispensed abiraterone by a community pharmacist you will be given 120 tablets in a plastic bottle, enough for 30 days’ supply.
The recommended dose for abiraterone is 1000 mg (four 250 mg tablets) as a single daily dose. Abiraterone should be taken at least two hours after eating and no food should be eaten for at least one hour after taking abiraterone.
How much will it cost?
Because PHARMAC has decided abiraterone will be fully subsidised, when you are dispensed abiraterone at a community pharmacy you only pay the dispensing fee of $5.
Where can I get more information?
If you have any queries or concerns please contact PHARMAC Enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone the help desk on FREE phone 0800 660 050 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
Last updated: 2 August 2016