Pharmac unveils range of new treatments

  • 07/05/2017
Jonathan Coleman (Photosport)
Jonathan Coleman (Photosport)

Pharmac is to get an extra $60 million in funding over the next four years as part of the 2017 Budget.

The Government's drug-buying agency on Sunday announced a range of proposed new treatments, including earlier access to HIV medicines and a new drug for lung cancer caused by asbestos.

There are also treatments for hepatitis C and new insomnia medicine aimed at children and teenagers up for public consultation.

"Pharmac is committed to improving health outcomes for all New Zealanders, with more consultations to follow in the coming months," the agency said in a statement.

"Once current consultation closes, Pharmac will review the responses before decisions are made.  If approved as consulted, the changes would take effect from 1 July 2017."

The potential new treatments include:

  • melatonin tablets - modified to work for children and adolescents suffering insomnia
  • pemetrexed - which treats asbestos-caused lung cancer
  • sildenafil - for pulmonary hypertension in children
  • earlier access to HIV anti-retrovirals
  • azithromycin - to treat non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis in children
  • erlotinib and gefitinib - for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

"Pharmac's budget for 2017/18 will be a record $870 million - this means the Government has increased Pharmac's budget by $220 million since 2008," says Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

"Pharmac works within a fixed budget and looks for the best health gains for the greatest number of New Zealanders."