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MSNZ welcomes consultation period for Tysabri and Gilenya

Media release (8 August 2014)

MSNZ welcomes beginning of consultation period for Tysabri and Gilenya as proposed new first-line treatments for relapsing remitting forms of Multiple Sclerosis.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand (MSNZ) welcomes PHARMAC’s release of a consultation document today that proposes Natalizumab (Tysabri)and Fingolimod (Gilenya) as potential new first-line treatments for relapsing, remitting forms of MS.

PHARMAC is seeking feedback on a funding proposal involving five treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS), including these two new treatments. It is also seeking feedback on potential changes to the currently funded treatments Avonex, Betaferon and Copaxone.

In February, PTAC (the Pharmaceutical Technical Advisory Committee) recommended to PHARMAC that these new treatments be funded as new first-line treatments.

“It has been a long process to get to this point but PHARMAC’s announcement is a positive step,” says MSNZ spokesman Neil Woodhams. “Relapsing Remitting MS is one of four types of MS, affecting the highest percentage of patients. These new treatments, if accepted by PHARMAC, will be given as soon after diagnosis as possible, to patients fitting within the criteria. This is a great start for all those who will benefit from these treatments.”

Subject to a positive outcome from its consultation process, PHARMAC has suggested that Natalizumab and Fingolimod could be listed on the Hospital Medications List by 1 November 2014 and that changes to the restrictions around access to treatments that are currently funded could also be made by that date.

“This is not the end of the process,” says Mr Woodhams. “The next stage of consultation begins today. We recommend that interested parties read the consultation documents carefully as there are restrictions on the access to these treatments and changes that will be made to the currently-funded treatments.”

Submissions on PHARMAC’s consultation document close on 29 August, 2014.

“MSNZ would like to thank everyone involved in the Patients’ Steering Group, the MS Community, neurologists and supporters who have helped to highlight the importance of funding these new first-line treatments. MSNZ has been overwhelmed with the support and commitment shown to date and we urge supporters to maintain their level of engagement during the next stage of the process and beyond.”

More information about the consultation documents:
For more information visit the PHARMAC website:

Details of the proposal, including proposed funding access criteria, and some background information can be found at:

Please note: The fingolimod component of this proposal is dependent on a multi-product provisional agreement with Novartis, for a number of other products including fingolimod, being approved. PHARMAC are consulting on the Novartis multiproduct proposal separately, see PHARMAC’s website at:

About MSNZ:
For more information about MSNZ please email or call 0800 MS LINE (67 54 63).

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