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PHARMAC Agreement A Win-Win

PHARMAC is announcing an agreement that will result in two new drugs being fully funded – and at the same time save the taxpayer $1.9 million.

The contract with drug company Novartis means a long acting form of octreotide (brandname Sandostatin) and chlorthalidone (brandname Hygroton) will now be fully funded.

Octreotide is used for the treatment of a growth hormone condition. Chlorthalidone, which is a diuretic, is used for the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

The agreement also includes certainty over the availability of three other drugs. These are cyclosporin A (brandname Neoral), diclofenac (brandnames Flameril and Voltaren) and cyclopenthiazide (brandname Navidrex).

Cyclosporin A is an immuno suppressant used in the treatment of a variety of conditions including skin diseases, transplantations, and rheumatoid arthritis. Diclofenac is used to treat a number of inflammatory conditions including arthritis, while cyclopenthiazide is also a diuretic.

General Manager Wayne McNee says the announcement is good news for patients as they will have more choice and it also means they will continue to have access to these fully funded treatments.

“The decision will provide additional choices and benefits for patients. It really is a win-win for those patients needing these treatments and the taxpayer paying for them.”

Wayne McNee says the agreement is very timely as it comes when the pharmaceutical budget is stretched. Any savings will help the drug agency keep within budget.

“The reality is that the health budget isn’t infinite and we need to look very carefully at how it is spent. PHARMAC is committed to getting the best health outcomes it can from the funds available to meet the health needs of New Zealanders.”


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