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PHARMAC signs bundle deal for more cancer medicines

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

420 New Zealanders with lung cancer, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and respiratory disease will benefit each year from a bundle deal PHARMAC has finalised with a medicine supplier. The agreement with Roche Products (New Zealand) includes funding three new treatments, as well as widened access to one currently funded treatment.

"These medicines are going to make a real difference to the lives of people who, in some cases, are living with very severe conditions and symptoms," says Dr Ken Clarke, PHARMAC’s acting medical director.

The new treatments are:

alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer

trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) for HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer

ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis Access will also be widened to pirfenidone (Esbriet), which is used to treat a certain type of respiratory disease. We are also changing the tablet strength, so people don’t have to take so many tablets each day. "This is the PHARMAC model in action," says Dr Clarke. "We are here to get the best deals and make more medicines available for more New Zealanders.

PHARMAC has a fixed budget to spend in the most cost-effective way possible. It does this by negotiating with medicine companies to keep prices down. Every dollar in the budget is used to buy medicines for New Zealanders.

Bundle deals are made when PHARMAC negotiates with one medicine supplier for multiple medicines at a competitive rate. This gives PHARMAC the flexibility to fund more new treatments and make treatments that are already funded available to more people. PHARMAC consulted publicly on a proposal to go ahead with the Roche bundle during August this year.

"We’re grateful for the time people took to tell us what they thought about these new medicines. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive."

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