Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Pharmac To Fund New Arthritis Drug

Pharmac has reached an agreement with Aventis Pharma Ltd to fully fund the arthritis drug leflunomide.

The agreement will see leflunomide (brand name Arava) listed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis from 1 May 2002.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful and debilitating disease so it is pleasing to be able to offer patients another fully funded drug to counter its effects,’’ says PHARMAC medical director Dr Peter Moodie. “This will come as good news for patients who now have a further option to existing subsidised drugs.”

Rather than being a drug that only treats the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, leflunomide is a disease modifying anti rheumatic drug (DMARD) that also targets the underlying cause. Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressively worsening autoimmune disease in which the body's natural immune system attacks healthy joint tissue causing inflammation and joint damage. Leflunomide suppresses the immune system and has a more rapid onset of action than other DMARDs.

Several DMARDs are already listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule, such as methotrexate and sulphasalazine, but they are not suitable for all patients and some patients become intolerant of them. Leflunomide will provide an extra option for patients who have found they cannot use those drugs.

Leflunomide will be targeted at those who are intolerant of, or who aren’t responding sufficiently to, existing methotrexate and sulphasalazine.

Since it has considerable toxicity, like other DMARDs leflunomide needs to be used with great care, and this is why PHARMAC has developed Special Authority criteria, Peter Moodie says.

“Arava is an expensive drug and also one which can produce adverse effects even if used carefully. That’s why in this case it is wise to have Special Authority criteria in place to ensure the drug is targeted at people who will gain benefits from it. Clinical trials have shown that though it can be as toxic as existing immunosuppressant agents, it can be effective as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis for patients for whom there is no other treatment available.”

“The Special Authority criteria have been developed in consultation with the New Zealand Rheumatology Association, this should ensure they correctly target leflunomide to those patients who will gain most benefit.”

Extending full subsidy to three dosage strengths of leflunomide is estimated to cost about $3.5 million over five years.

PHARMAC’s agreement with Aventis also involves a price reduction for the angina and high blood pressure drug diltiazem (Cardizem). Under the agreement, the price of diltiazem will be maintained at current levels for three years.

[ends]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news