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PHARMAC considering new medicines for type 2 diabetes

PHARMAC is seeking proposals from pharmaceutical suppliers for new medicines that could help New Zealanders living with type 2 diabetes.

“The new medicines we are looking at are called SGLT-2 inhibitors, GLP-1 agonists and DPP-4 inhibitors. Evidence suggests these medicines do more than just reduce sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. They can also help address type 2 diabetes-related complications like kidney and heart disease,” explains PHARMAC deputy medical director Dr Peter Murray.

PHARMAC has been closely following the clinical evidence of these medicines as it has evolved. They have today issued a request for proposals to try and secure an affordable price for these medicines.

“People with diabetes, their whānau and health professionals have told us that there is a need for these medicines to be funded in New Zealand. We hope to fund at least one of these medicines by negotiating with medicine suppliers and running a competitive pricing process,” says Dr Murray.

There are over 240,000 people in New Zealand who have been diagnosed with diabetes, mostly type 2. There are thought to be another 100,000 people who have it but don’t know.

Māori and Pacific people are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and experiencing complications of the disease, compared with other people living in New Zealand.

“We hope that by funding these types of medicines we can help reduce health disparities for Māori and Pacific people, acknowledging there is further work to be done to support better access equity across the health system.”

PHARMAC will consider all the proposals they receive and assess them against their Factors for Consideration. This process is likely to be complex and could take several months to complete.

“PHARMAC will continue making the best choices we can, exploring new treatments and expanding available treatments for all New Zealanders based on a robust, evidence-based and affordable approach,” concludes Dr Murray.

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