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PHARMAC to review HRT treatments

Media release

PHARMAC to review HRT treatments

PHARMAC is to review access to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

The move follows international concern about the long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) being raised by a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The JAMA study linked long-term HRT use to increased risk of breast cancer and cardiac events. HRT has been prescribed for post-menopausal symptoms and as a preventive for osteoporosis, however prescribing behaviour may change following the study’s publication.

The first step in the process for PHARMAC will be seeking clinical advice from an expert sub-committee, says PHARMAC medical director Peter Moodie. Advice from this committee will then be used to analyse whether subsidised treatments are targeted appropriately, in line with new guidelines and the latest international research.

“PHARMAC is aware that there is a degree of confusion and concern caused by the new evidence around HRT,” Dr Moodie says.

“We will be working with expert clinicians to establish what appropriate steps PHARMAC could take to address these concerns. We would expect that prescriber behaviour has already adapted to the new research, however it might also be useful for some guidance to be built into access to these treatments.”

PHARMAC currently subsidises a range of hormone replacement drugs, including combination therapies, that are used by over 60,000 New Zealand women.

[ends]


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