News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Mental health drugs remain in New Zealand

Media Release Pharmac

New Zealanders will still have access to three mental health medicines now that the company supplying them has removed its threat of withdrawing them from the market.

After months of tense negotiations drug company Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals has reduced the prices on anti-depressant Cipramil, and its anti-psychotics Clopixol and Depixol.

Lundbeck will now supply the New Zealand market from its Australian office. New Zealanders will pay Australian prices for the anti-psychotics which are about 75% less than current prices.

PHARMAC General Manager Wayne McNee says it is very pleasing that Lundbeck has reached this decision, as PHARMAC was concerned that Lundbeck’s threat would make patients suffer.

“Obviously we were concerned that Lundbeck wasn’t willing to live up to its contractual obligations. But our major concern was for those patients on the anti-psychotics. We are now confident that the treatment of these patients will not be disrupted.”

The initial dispute was over the company refusing to lower the price of its anti-depressant, which it had originally agreed to. However when PHARMAC said it would look at litigation, Lundbeck threatened to take the drug off the market. The company also threatened to withdraw two unrelated anti-psychotic drugs from the market if litigation proceeded.

“It was very disappointing the company brought the two anti-psychotics into the equation as they weren’t even part of the issue in debate. It seemed Lundbeck had little regard for those patients who are on these treatments.”

He says the result is pleasing as supply will continue and the New Zealand taxpayer is now getting these two anti-psychotics at a reduced price.

However, Wayne McNee says PHARMAC remains wary about Lundbeck’s commitment to providing its anti-depressant to the New Zealand market, which it started to supply just 12 months ago.

“Lundbeck’s change of stance is good news but should not be seen as a guarantee of supply given its recent history of threats and broken promises,” cautions Wayne McNee.

The situation between PHARMAC and Lundbeck followed an agreement between PHARMAC and Douglas Pharmaceuticals to provide a generic fluoxetine for 60% less than taxpayers had been paying for anti-depressants.

Lundbeck, whose contract with PHARMAC required that it reduce the price of its anti-depressant Cipramil to match the new subsidy, initially agreed to accept the change. However, two months later, the company changed its position and announced it was leaving the NZ market and withdrawing Cipramil.

Wayne McNee says that the uncertainty of supply has been uncomfortable, and that throughout the dispute PHARMAC’s highest priority was to ensure that vulnerable patients on the anti-psychotics were not put in any danger.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: From Free Press to Fancy Dress - Spielberg's The Post

Stephen Spielberg's The Post is an opportune newsroom drama in which a corrupt Republican president wages war against the "liberal media," as its plucky proprietor risks economic and legal ruin to bring the Pentagon Papers to public light. Its true protagonist is publisher Katharine Graham, a stringently diplomatic businesswoman, reluctantly compelled to take an overtly political stance in the interests of democracy and freedom of the press. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Black Dog of Empire - Joe Wright's Darkest Hour'

On the eve of England's contorted efforts to negotiate its ignominious retreat from Europe and the chaotic spectacle of the Tory party ratifying its undignified departure from a union originally designed to prevent another World War, there has been a renewed appetite for movies about 1940. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Anger Begets Anger - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For fans of what Ricky Gervais termed "number movies" (Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, Ocean's 11, Se7en), Martin McDonagh's latest offering will be a welcome addition to the roster. The Irish playwright turned screenwriter and director has produced another quirky and darkly comic tragedy that evolves around the futility of anger and grief, retribution and revenge. More>>

Howard Davis: Sexting in George Dawe's Genevieve - Part I

Te Papa's permanent collection includes an enormous oil painting by the English artist George Dawe called Genevieve (from by a poem by S.T. Coleridge entitled 'Love') that was prominently featured in the 2013 exhibition Angels & Aristocrats. Compare the massive immensity of the bard's gorgeously gilded harp with the stubby metallic handle of the Dark Knight's falchion, both suggestively positioned at crotch-level. Dawe's enormous canvas invokes a whole history of blushing that pivots around a direct connection to sexual arousal. More>>


Ethnomusicology: Malian ‘Desert Blues’ Revolutionaries To Storm WOMAD

Malian band Tinariwen (playing WOMAD NZ in March 2018) are a true musical revolutionaries in every sense. Active since 1982, these nomadic Tuareg or ‘Kel Tamashek’ (speakers of Tamashek) electric guitar legends revolutionised a traditional style to give birth to a new genre often called ‘desert blues’. They also have a history rooted deeply in revolution and fighting for the rights of their nomadic Tamashek speaking culture and people. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland