29 Nov 2010

Deal widens access to treatments for multiple sclerosis

3:00 pm on 29 November 2010

Pharmac is to widen access to treatments for multiple sclerosis and provide new blood-thinning and antibiotics treatments.

The decisions, effective this week, are part of a deal with drug supplier Bayer New Zealand.

The Government's drug funding agency says people with multiple sclerosis have access to funded treatments through defined starting and stopping criteria, which use a measure of disability.

The scores obtained establish whether patients require treatment and whether treatment is working.

It says a price reduction for beta-interferon has allowed changes to be made to the criteria so some patients can stay on the treatments longer and switch to a second class of treatment if there are too many relapses.

Pharmac says the deal will also provide access to the new blood-thinning drug rivaroxaban, sold as Xarelto, for people who have had hip and knee replacements.