1 July 2021: OIA response | Pembrolizumab and nivolumab data

1 July 2021

Dear [name and contact details withheld] 

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION 

Thank you for your request dated 3 June 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to pembrolizumab and nivolumab. You requested: 

  • The latest data by month on number of Special Authority’s – initial and renewal for the 2 immunotherapies funded for melanoma in New Zealand, pembrolizumab and nivolumab (as previously received in the attached)
  • Also the number of milligrams dispensed each day for each person who received pembrolizumab up to your latest data set (including month dispensed as previously received in the attached)
  • Also the total number of units in each dispensing of pembrolizumab up to your latest data set (including month dispensed as previously received in the attached) 

Special Authority data for pembrolizumab and nivolumab

Following on from our previous response to you on 22 April 2021 regarding your request for information, please refer below for an update of pembrolizumab and nivolumab Special Authority application numbers. 

Pembrolizumab

Month submitted

Initial Applications

Approvals - initial

Renewal Applications

Approval - Renewal

Total applications

Total approvals

2021-04-01

21

20

53

51

74

71

2021-05-01

9

7

70

62

79

69

2021-06-01

 

 

 

24

 

24

 Nivolumab

Month submitted

Initial Applications

Approvals - initial

Renewal Applications

Approval - Renewal

Total applications

Total approvals

2021-04-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

2021-05-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

2021-06-01

 

 

≤10

≤10

≤10

≤10

Please note:

  • The data provided was correct as of 16 June 2021. It is likely incomplete, due to delays in applications being processed and entered into the system.
  • The data provided is a count of Special Authority approvals, not patients. They do not represent the number of patients being dispensed the relevant medicine in a given period.
  • If a patient has had more than one relevant Special Authority approval, they will be counted more than once in this data. 

Pembrolizumab dispensing information

Please find attached with this response the requested pembrolizumab dispensing information for pembrolizumab dispensed in the community, updated from our previous response provided to you on 17 February 2021.

Please note that PHARMAC approaches its assessment of requests for information under the OIA on the basis that, once released, the information becomes publicly available - in other words once we release the information to you it becomes available to any other party in that exact form (whether by you distributing it to others or by virtue of us receiving the same request from a different third party). 

We have changed the nivolumab figures to ≤10 as we consider this is necessary to protect the privacy of natural persons (section 9(2)(a)). 

As required under the OIA, we also considered whether, in the circumstances, the withholding of this information was outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable, in the public interest, to make this information available.  In this case we did not consider that the public interest outweighed the reasons for withholding the information. 

Please note you have the right, by way of complaint under section 28(3) of the OIA to an Ombudsman, to seek an investigation and review of our decision.

We trust that this information answers your queries. We are making our information more freely available, so we now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this. 

Yours sincerely 

Rachel Read
Manager, Policy and Government Services