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Significant step towards national hospital medicines list

5 February 2013

Media release

PHARMAC takes significant step towards national hospital medicines list

PHARMAC has taken a further major step towards forming a national list of hospital medicines that will be available nationwide.

The full list is due to be published on 1 July 2013, and will consist of 16 therapeutic groups, made up of approximately 2500 medicines. PHARMAC has now approved the first two therapeutic groups – cardiology and rheumatology treatments.

Chief Executive Steffan Crausaz says the announcement of these therapeutic groups is a significant step towards the full national list.

“The objective of the national list is to standardise access to hospital medicines throughout New Zealand,” says Steffan Crausaz.

The national lists will also ensure prescribing and funding criteria for hospital medicines are the same as for community medicines.

“This will help avoid situations where people leave hospital with a prescription, only to find the medicine is not funded in the community and they then have to pay the full price,” says Steffan Crausaz. “Forming these lists has involved considerable input from hospital clinicians and pharmacists, who will be the list’s users. We are grateful for the feedback that has been received and which has resulted in some changes to the initial lists we proposed.”

One of the changes has been the addition of rituximab (Mabthera) to the rheumatology list. Rituximab, a targeted biologic medicine, had already been available as a treatment for some forms of leukaemia and lymphoma but only some DHBs were using it for arthritis.

PHARMAC had already begun negotiating contracts for medicines to be added to the list from 1 July this year, such as the pain relief medicine parecoxib that was announced last year.

Steffan Crausaz says PHARMAC expects to announce further therapeutic groups in coming months and remains on track to publish the full list on 1 July.

ENDS

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