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Working towards Glivec funding solution

Media Release

PHARMAC to continue working towards Glivec funding solution

PHARMAC is to continue to seek an agreement with pharmaceutical supplier Novartis that would enable Glivec to be funded for people with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

PHARMAC will continue working to find a solution for a wider group of people than those in the accelerated and blast crisis stages of CML, the funding proposal PHARMAC consulted on earlier this month.

Responses to that consultation were strongly against funding the drug for people only in the accelerated and blast crisis phases of the disease. PHARMAC has considered this feedback and decided to not fund Glivec at this stage, but to seek a solution that would enable it to fund the drug for all people with CML who have failed to respond to or tolerate interferon, rather than just in the later stages of the disease.

“After careful consideration of the information and further analysis, we have decided the most appropriate decision is to go back to the company and try to negotiate a price that would allow us to fund Glivec for a larger group of people,” says PHARMAC chief executive Wayne McNee.

“Of the 120 formal responses we received, most told us they did not want the drug to be funded just for those people with advanced CML. There was a strong message that if it was to be funded at all, it should be funded for people with chronic phase CML.”

Discussions so far with Novartis have seen the proposed price of $60,000 to $100,000 per patient per year reduced, however it is still very expensive and not cost-effective when compared to other treatments PHARMAC is wanting to fund.

“This is a very difficult decision for us to make but we also have to bear in mind the question of what other health care could be purchased with the funds we were proposing to spend on Glivec,” Wayne McNee adds.

“We have been working closely with Novartis on this, and we look forward to continuing to work with them. Our ultimate aim is to see the drug funded, but at this stage it we would not be able to justify that decision based on the value of the drug compared with other medicines.”

[ends]

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