17 February 2021: OIA response | Pembrolizumab and nivolumab data

17 February 2021 

Dear [name and contact details withheld]

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: PEMBROLIZUMAB AND NIVOLUMAB SPECIAL AUTHORITY DATA, PEMBROLIZUMAB DISPENSING DATA 

Thank you for your request dated 28 January 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)
  • Also the number of milligrams dispensed each day for each person who received pembrolizumab up to your latest data set
  • Also the total number of units in each dispensing of pembrolizumab up to your latest data set
  • If possible to provide this information at a DHB level that would be ideal

Special Authority data for pembrolizumab and nivolumab

Following on from our previous response sent 30 November 2020, please refer below for an update of pembrolizumab and nivolumab Special Authority application numbers. 

Pembrolizumab - SA1910

Month submitted

Initial Applications

Approvals - initial

Renewal Applications

Approval - Renewal

Total applications

Total approvals

2020-10-01

27

24

48

44

75

68

2020-11-01

21

18

63

48

84

66

2020-12-01

12

11

59

53

71

64

Nivolumab - SA1911

Month submitted

Initial Applications

Approvals - initial

Renewal Applications

Approval - Renewal

Total applications

Total approvals

2020-10-01

1

1

0

0

1

1

2020-11-01

0

0

3

2

3

2

2020-12-01

0

0

4

3

4

3

Pembrolizumab dispensing information

Please find attached with this response the requested pembrolizumab dispensing information for pembrolizumab dispensed in the community. 

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 not provided the pembrolizumab dispensing information at a DHB level 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 will 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