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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Vertex makes significant inroads in New Zealand

Health Industry Hub | December 5, 2022 |

Pharma News: Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced that it has reached a provisional agreement with New Zealand’s medicines purchasing agency, Pharmac, for the reimbursement of its cystic fibrosis (CF) therapy with funding proposed to start on 1 April 2023.

Following a public consultation period, the agreement will allow access to Trikafta (elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor) for eligible CF patients 6 years and older who have at least one F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene.

According to CFNZ “Pharmac acknowledged the major benefits that Trikafta offers, not just to the health system but an extension to life expectancy and quality of life, estimating that Trikafta would provide benefits equivalent to 27 more years at full health when compared to current treatments.”

The delay in the funding has been the investment associated with Trikafta being perceived as “very expensive”. In urging Pharmac to consider funding the therapy, CFNZ put together a Trikafta advocacy kit online – called #27MoreYears movement – for those who wanted to fight for its funding.

Pharmac’s director of operations, Lisa Williams, said “Following our budget increase in May 2022 and commercial negotiations with the supplier, Vertex, I am thrilled to announce that we are initiating consultation on the funding of Trikafta…”

Ms Williams added “We have been actively working towards this step in the funding process since receiving recommendations from both our Respiratory Advisory Committee and from our Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) that the medicine should be funded. Our expert advisors have told us that treatment with Trikafta significantly improves lung function and other symptoms of cystic fibrosis. The evidence is clear that Trikafta can benefit people with cystic fibrosis, so we are pleased to start consultation on a proposal to fund it.

“I want to acknowledge the time that many people have put into advocating for those living with cystic fibrosis and to those who have shared their own very personal stories with us. We have heard them all, and we know there will be a lot of people thrilled to hear that we are proposing to fund Trikafta.”

Sabrina Barbic, Senior Country Manager of Vertex ANZ, said “The announcement is a significant milestone in ensuring New Zealanders living with cystic fibrosis receive timely and sustainable access to Trikafta, including children as young as six.

“We are pleased that Pharmac has recognised that every eligible patient should have access and acknowledges the value Trikafta can bring, not only to people living with cystic fibrosis and their caregivers, but also the wider society.”

On finalisation of the process, New Zealand will join more than thirty-five other countries – including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom – where Trikafta is broadly reimbursed for eligible CF patients.

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