Gemfibrozil tablets: Discontinuation
Gemfibrozil is used as a lipid-modifying agent to lower cholesterol (fat levels) in the blood
Gemfibrozil: Supply to New Zealand ending
Douglas (the supplier) can no longer supply gemfibrozil to the New Zealand market. This is because they can't procure the raw material needed to make and supply it.
They estimate current stocks will end in early July 2020. There may be more gemfibrozil in the supply chain but we have no visibility over this.
PHARMAC has not been able to find another manufacturer of gemfibrozil to supply New Zealand.
Lipazil is the only Medsafe-approved brand of gemfibrozil tablets in New Zealand.
We estimate that this change will affect about 800 patients who take gemfibrozil tablets regularly.
Information for people taking gemfibrozil (Lipazil)
There are other funded treatments that can lower cholesterol. Some may be more effective. You will need to talk to your prescriber about what option might be best for you.
Your GP may not charge you for your visit. PHARMAC can reimburse your GP for the cost of your visit to get a replacement for gemfibrozil. The form for your GP is below.
We know it can be annoying to have to change medications, especially at short notice. We apologise for any inconvenience.
The Health Navigator website has easy to read information about each of the treatment options available to you.
Information for prescribers
People taking gemfibrozil will need to be changed to another lipid-modifying agent.
We ask that prescribers:
- do not start any new patients on gemfibrozil tablets
- move any patients currently taking gemfibrozil on to other treatments as soon as possible
- waive the patient's co-payment, if the patient needs an appointment to change to another lipid-modifying agent. PHARMAC will reimburse you.
We have received clinical advice from the Cardiovascular Subcommittee of the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (one of our expert clinical advisory groups).
They advise that alternative funded treatments include:
The choice of treatment will depend on each patient's circumstances.
More clinical guidance
You can find some recent New-Zealand based clinical guidance on BPACnz's website.
We appreciate that it is not always easy to change patients onto different medicines. We apologise for any inconvenience this change at short notice causes you or your patients.
Information for pharmacists
You will need to tell people using gemfibrozil to visit their prescriber to change to an alternative treatment.
Patients may not need to pay anything to visit the doctor to change to another lipid-modifying agent. PHARMAC will reimburse the GP co-payment.
We will delist gemfibrozil from the Pharmaceutical Schedule in the future to allow time to run down any remaining stock. There is no date currently set for this.
We appreciate that it can be challenging to change people's medicines, especially at short notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this change causes you or your patients.
Who to contact
If you take gemfibrozil, you will need to talk to your GP about alternatives. PHARMAC cannot comment on anyone's individual clinical circumstances.
If you have a query about the Pharmaceutical Schedule, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: 25 June 2020