Competition opens the way to new drug funding
Pharmac says its new rare disorders process - which promotes competition between drug companies - has resulted in funding for a drug that treats a potentially deadly blood disorder.
The Government drug buyer has done a deal with US company Shire Pharmaceuticals to supply injectable icatibant (brand name Firazyr), which treats hereditary angioedema attacks.
Hereditary angioedema causes episodic attacks of swelling that can be life-threatening.
Pharmac believes there may be up to 90 sufferers in New Zealand, and 25 of them may meet the criteria for funded treatment.
Pharmac has a $25 million budget for rare disorders and last year began testing a new approach to promote competition, says chief executive Steffan Crausaz.
It resulted in a number of companies Pharmac had never dealt with before, including Shire, offering 28 medicines.
"This is a great outcome for people with hereditary angioedema, and we're confident of more agreements being reached for other rare disorders in the near future," Mr Crausaz said.
Firazyr can be self-injected, which Pharmac says will save DHBs money on people visiting for in-hospital treatment.
In 2011 the Food and Drug Administration approved Firazyr for use in the United States and the Medical Letter noted a single dose cost US$2427 (NZ$3834).