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PHARMAC funds two more heart drugs

PHARMAC is to subsidise two more drugs to help fight heart disease after reaching an innovative agreement with the drugs’ supplier, AstraZeneca.

PHARMAC is to fund a new, expensive blood pressure lowering drug called candesartan, which may be valuable for patients whose blood pressure is not adequately controlled on other drugs. The drug is significantly more expensive than the current options available.

As well, PHARMAC has agreed to subsidise a new low dose beta-blocker called metoprolol succinate. According to new evidence it may give another treatment option for some people with heart failure.

The funding of the drug has been made possible as part of a package where AstraZeneca has dropped the price of one of its older blood pressure treatments, felodipine, which belongs to a class of drugs known as DHP CCBs.

PHARMAC General Manager Wayne McNee says the AstraZeneca agreement is a good example of how a co-operative environment can help all parties, with patients in particular getting the benefit.

“By freeing up funding in one area, we are able to invest in new drugs which will give prescribers more tools in their arsenal to fight cardiovascular disease.”

He says the company will be working with PHARMAC to ensure that candesarten is used appropriately. Under a risk sharing arrangement, the company will have to pay PHARMAC back if the drug is over-used.

Candesarten will be fully subsidised from December 1. Low dose metoprolol will be available after it obtains approval from the Ministry of Health.

[ends]

For further information contact PHARMAC General Manager Wayne McNee.
Phone: (025) 429-212.

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