10 August 2021: OIA response | Multiple sclerosis medicines funding data 

10 August 2021

Dear [name and contact details withheld] 

Request for information 

Thank you for your request dated 13 July 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to the below multiple sclerosis (MS) medicines. You requested: 

  • Glatiramer acetate Inj 40 mg prefilled syringe
  • Interferon beta-1-alpha Inj 6 million iu in 0.5 ml pen injector; Inj 6 million iu in 0.5 ml syringe
  • Interferon beta-1-beta Inj 8 million iu per ml, 1 ml vial
  • Fingolimod Cap 0.5 mg
  • Natalizumab Inj 20 mg per ml, 15 ml vial
  • Dimethyl fumarate Cap 120 mg; Cap 240 mg
  • Teriflunomide Tab 14 mg
  • Ocrelizumab Inj 30 mg per ml, 10 ml vial

Regarding each of these drugs, could you please supply me with the following information:

  1. How many people are receiving the medications (in total)?
  2. What is the total cost per annum of each treatment?
  3. What are the diagnostic qualifications for each treatment?
  4. Which treatments are for secondary progressive MS?

Please find the information you requested below.

Number of people dispensed funded MS medicines

Calendar year

Number of people

2020

1,645

Please note, we widened access to MS medicines in March 2021. The number of people receiving MS medicines in 2020 will likely differ to the number of people receiving MS medicines in 2021. 

Gross funding spent for MS medicines

Calendar year

Chemical name

Gross funding (NZD)

2020

Interferon beta-1-alpha

$342,810

2020

Interferon beta-1-beta

$566,196

2020

Glatiramer acetate

$1,854,125

2020

Ocrelizumab

$6,196,398

2020

Fingolimod

$11,643,500

2020

Teriflunomide

$711,387

2020

Natalizumab

$6,762,000

2020

Dimethyl fumarate

$8,494,996

Please note, confidential rebates may apply to some of these medicines. This means the total net cost of funding MS medicines may differ to what is shown above. 

Diagnostic qualifications for MS medicines

We have understood your request about diagnostic qualifications to refer to the criteria for accessing funded medicines in your list for MS. These criteria are set out in the Special Authority form for MS, which can be found on our website:  > Pharmaceutical Schedule > Schedule resources > Special Authority Forms(external link) 

Secondary progressive MS medicines

In order to access funded access to the treatments noted in your list, people must meet the specified criteria as per the Special Authority form. This criterion applies to all funded MS medicines. 

Please refer to the individual medicine Data Sheets(external link) or the Product Detail found on the Medsafe website (https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/index.asp(external link)) to confirm the indication(s) each medicine has been approved for in New Zealand. 

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