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Pharmac to fund new cardiovascular medicine with amended Special Authority criteria

Pharmac has approved funding for a new medicine with substantial health benefits for around 75,000 New Zealanders at high-risk of cardiovascular disease.

People with at high-risk of cardiovascular disease, who meet the funding criteria, will be able to access funded rosuvastatin from 1 December 2021.

“People at risk of cardiovascular disease, their whānau and health professionals have told us that there is a need for this new medicine to be funded,” says Pharmac’s director of operations Lisa Williams.

“Our clinical experts have told us that rosuvastatin is a more potent statin that can treat higher levels of cholesterol, without the adverse effects associated with a high dose of the currently funded statins.”

“We have also decided to specifically name Māori and Pacific ethnicities within the funding criteria,” says Lisa. We also did this recently in our decision to fund treatments for type 2 diabetes.

“This is an intentional move to proactively promote equity of access to these treatments for population groups who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease and for whom there is direct evidence of inequities in access to medicines. We are grateful to those who contributed important feedback that supported this decision.

“An additional 11,500 Māori and Pacific peoples, over five years, will be able to access this medicine. These are people who may not have otherwise gained access through the high-risk clinical criteria alone.

“There are lots of structural issues in the health system that contribute to inequities in access to healthcare for Māori and Pacific peoples, which Pharmac cannot address by itself. However, Pharmac is committed to ensuring that we do not add barriers to access,” says Lisa.

Pharmac is committed to continuing our work to fund more medicines for more people, delivering the best possible health outcomes for New Zealanders from within our fixed budget. The gross cost to the combined pharmaceutical budget for rosuvastatin is estimated to be roughly $6 million over 5 years.

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