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Pharmac Finally Funds World Class Pain Medication

Pharmac Finally Funds World Class Pain Medication

PFIZER New Zealand has welcomed PHARMAC's decision to widen access to its leading neuropathic pain medication by funding the medicine from 1 July this year, Pfizer General Manager Mark Crotty said today.

Neurontin (Gabapentin) is widely recognised as the leading treatment for this type of pain, and has been on the market globally for over 10 years

"The medication has been available in New Zealand since 1996, but its funding has been severely restricted to treat only refractory epilepsy."

"Neuropathic pain is a persistent condition which affects approximately 1% of the population and is one of the most difficult types of pain to treat."

"Patients with neuropathic pain often describe the pain as burning, stabbing electric shock like pain. Patients suffering from post shingles pain, diabetic pain, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and phantom limb pain may benefit from the increased access," said Mark Crotty.

Medical Director at Burwood Spinal Unit, Dr Rick Acland, is delighted that funded access to the medication is now available to the thousands of patients who will benefit from this treatment.

Dr Acland encourages sufferers from this type of pain to visit their GP," he said.

Dr David Jones, Director of the Pain Clinic at Dunedin Hospital, is relieved that PHARMAC has finally funded this medication that for some is life changing.

"This type of pain can prevent patients from leading normal lives and participating fully in their family and work life, and in the community, he said."

"While Pfizer welcomes the decision, it questions why it has taken so long for this important medication to be widely funded in New Zealand," Mark Crotty said.

"Neurontin is the only medication that Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, has received new funding for in New Zealand in nearly five years."

"PHARMAC's policy of reference pricing, sole tendering, and a capped budget for medicines denies New Zealanders access to many world class treatments."

Pfizer will continue to lobby the Government to widen access to medications more freely available in other OECD countries, Mark Crotty said.

ENDS

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