Erythropoietin alfa (Epoetin alfa, EPO)
Epoetin alfa is a growth factor that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Epoetin alfa injections are used in the treatment of chronic renal failure and myelodysplasia.
The funded brand of epoetin alfa is changing from Eprex to Binocrit.
When is this happening?
From 1 February 2019 a second brand of epoetin alfa called Binocrit will be funded.
This means for 2 months both Binocrit and Eprex will be funded.
From 1 April 2019 the Eprex brand will no longer be funded and Binocrit will be the only funded brand of epoetin alfa.
Binocrit works in the same way as Eprex. It has been evaluated by Medsafe to make sure it’s safe and can be used to treat the same health conditions as other brands of epoetin alfa.
If you have any questions or concerns about changes to medicines, talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
There’s more information about medicines and changes to medicines on PHARMAC’s website: The facts about generic and biosimilar medicines.
What does your new brand look like?
Your previous brand
Your new brand
What are the features of Binocrit and its add-ons?
- Binocrit syringes are not the same as Eprex, which has a retractable syringe. Instead, they’re similar to other subcutaneous syringes, such as the ones used for insulin.
- Binocrit syringes are marked to show how much medicine is in the syringe.
- Patients using Binocrit can be provided with cooler bags and sharps containers free of charge – these can be ordered by healthcare professionals from the supplier.
- Binocrit boxes are different colours for different strengths.
For healthcare professionals
Patients should be switched to Binocrit with the involvement of the treating physician. Read the Medsafe data sheet(external link) for information about Binocrit.
It’s best if the patient is given a new prescription for Binocrit during this 2-month transition period.
Healthcare professionals can order Binocrit patient kits by emailing Binocrit.email@example.com
- If patients have chronic kidney disease (CKD) or are pre-dialysis patients, kits contain cooler bags, sharps containers and (if requested) information for patients.
- If patients are receiving home haemodialysis (HD) or peritoneal dialysis (PD), kits contain cooler bags and (if requested) information for patients.
- Information for patients covers injecting Binocrit, the consumer medicines information (CMI) about Binocrit(external link), and answers to common questions about anaemia.
- Patient kits may take up to 7 days from request to delivery.
If you have any questions
If you have funding questions about the changes to the brand of epoetin alfa contact PHARMAC:
- 0800 66 00 50
If you require medical information about Binocrit, contact Sandoz:
- NZ free phone 0800 354 335
Last updated: 16 January 2019