- 12 months ago
7 March 2023
New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis (CF) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will gain access to life-saving and life-extending therapies from 1 April with Pharmac announcing it would fund Vertex’s TRIKAFTA (elexacaftor+tezacaftor+ivacaftor), MSD’s KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) and Roche’s TECENTRIQ (atezolizumab) from next month.
In a major coup for CF patients and for Vertex, Pharmac will fund Trikafta for patients aged six and older, putting it ahead of Australia where a recommendation for funding paediatric patients is still in post-PBAC pricing negotiations.
Pharmac says while the list price for Trikafta is NZ$27,647, “a confidential rebate will apply to Trikafta that will reduce the net price”.
Vertex applied for funding in July 2021. Achieving funding in NZ in under two years is a record for both the company and Pharmac.
The move was also welcomed by CF patients today who said NZ will now join the more than 30 countries where Trikafta is publicly funded.
“This decision is nothing less than monumental, it’s a significant announcement that will dramatically change the lives, and life expectancy, of so many Kiwis with CF,” CFNZ Chief Executive Lisa Burns (pictured) said.
“The last two years have been tough, with the months since the preliminary announcement being especially difficult. Emotions and anxiety have been running high for our families and we’re delighted that they now have certainty.”
“We are delighted that the Pharmac Board has confirmed New Zealanders living with cystic fibrosis, including children as young as six, will have reimbursed access to Trikafta from 1 April,” said Sabrina Barbic, Senior Country Manager, Vertex Australia and New Zealand.
“In addition, 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.”
Keytruda will be funded as a first-line treatment for NSCLC and Tecentriq as a second or later line treatment after MSD put in an application for funding in May 2020 and Roche put in its application in February 2021, although Roche also sought first-line access.
The availability of the PD-(L)1 therapies for NSCLC will greatly increase the prospects of cancer patients in New Zealand as the class has dramatically changed treatment paradigms and outcomes for patients in countries where they are available earlier in the treatment cycle.