4 Dec 2022

Pharmac to fund life-extending drug Trikafta for those with cystic fibrosis

6:01 pm on 4 December 2022

It is estimated Trikafta could give people with cystic fibrosis up to 27 more years at full health. File pic Photo: 123RF

Te Pātaka Whaioranga Pharmac has reached a provisional agreement with medicine supplier Vertex to fund Trikafta for those with cystic fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand said in September New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis were moving overseas to get subsidised access to Trikafta.

Chief executive Lisa Burns said Pharmac's assessments showed the drug could deliver substantial benefits, however, it had not been moved up Pharmac's priority list.

At the time Pharmac said the treatment was still on the investment options list, but the ranking - out of 79 - was commercially sensitive.

Today it announced it was starting consultation on the funding of the drug for people aged six and above who met the eligibility criteria.

Director of operations Lisa Williams said it had the potential to make a substantial difference to the lives of those living with cystic fibrosis and for their whānau and communities too.

"We estimate that, if funded, Trikafta could give people with cystic fibrosis up to 27 more years at full health, when compared with supportive care. This would significantly reduce the impact of the condition on people with cystic fibrosis, their whānau and communities."

Its respiratory advisory committee and its pharmacology and therapeutics advisory committee have both recommended it should be funded.

Their advice was based on how the drug significantly improved lung function and other symptoms of cystic fibrosis.

"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."

The consultation is available on the Pharmac website for anyone wanting to have their say.

Williams said consultation was an important step in the process, helping to ensure those who would get the most benefit from a medicine would be able to access them.

"We have been saying that we wanted to fund Trikafta - and now we are a step closer," she said.

Funding of Trikafta is proposed to start on 1 April 2023.

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