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Ventolin to remain available after 1 July

3 May 2005

Ventolin (Metered Dose Inhaler) to remain available after 1st July as a Private Purchase Medicine

Auckland, 2nd May 2005 – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will continue to make Ventolin™ (salbutamol) Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) available to New Zealanders on prescription after July 1st as a Private Purchase Medicine (PPM) in order to ensure that New Zealanders continue to have access to an alternative to the funded options. This follows PHARMAC’s decision to award the sole supply tender for salbutamol to an alternative supplier from July 1st.

GSK will continue to make Ventolin MDI’s available at the price currently listed on the pharmaceutical schedule, although as a PPM the actual amount a patient could expect to pay will be determined by individual pharmacies and will vary.

“Given the level of inquiries that we have received from both patients and healthcare professionals, we expect that many people may want to continue to use Ventolin™ even after the subsidy ends on July 1st. We will obviously continue to review the level of demand on an ongoing basis.“ says Lisa Bright, Vice President and Managing Director, GSK Pharmaceuticals New Zealand.

GSK understands from an earlier PHARMAC press release that, “PHARMAC is considering deferring implementation of sole supply”. GSK understands that this does not necessarily mean that Ventolin will continue to be subsidised after the 1st of July. “We look forward to hearing the outcome of the PHARMAC review and hope that Ventolin can remain fully subsidised for New Zealanders as it has been for the last 35 years” said Ms Bright.

Currently, 90% of people with asthma in New Zealand rely on Ventolin to provide short acting relief of their asthma symptoms.

ENDS

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