25 March 2021: OIA response | Trastuzumab emtansine dispensing figures and trastuzumab special authority approvals in 2020

25 March 2021

Dear [name and contact details withheld]

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Thank you for your request dated 5 March 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to HER2+ breast cancer treatments. You requested:

  1. The number of new patients that were first dispensed approved treatment with trastuzumab emtansine under Special Authority in 2020, reported by month
  2. The number of Special Authority approvals for trastuzumab for the treatment of eBC. Reported by individual month in 2020, for each of the following Special Authority criteria:
    1. 9 weeks concurrent treatment with adjuvant chemotherapy is planned.
    2. 12 months concurrent treatment with adjuvant chemotherapy is planned.
    3. 12 months sequential treatment following adjuvant chemotherapy is planned.
    4. 12 months treatment with neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy is planned.
    5. Other treatment regimen, in association with adjuvant chemotherapy, is planned.

Please find the information requested included in the tables below.

Please note:

  • A ‘new patient’ has been defined as a person who has never been dispensed the specified medicine.
  • Numbers are for new patients who received medicines funded via Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule (Schedule) only.

Table 1: New patients dispensed trastuzumab emtansine in 2020

Month

New patients

January

12

February

<10

March

<10

April

<10

May

<10

June

<10

July

<10

August

<10

September

<10

October

<10

November

<10

December

<10

Total

76

Table 2: Number of Special Authority approvals for trastuzumab for the treatment of early breast cancer (eBC) in 2020

Requested SA criteria

Month

a

b

c

d

January

<10

<10

0

10

<10 

February

<10

<10

<10

<10

<10 

March

<10

18

<10

<10

<10 

April

<10

27

<10

<10

<10 

May

0

18

0

<10

<10 

June

0

11

<10

<10

<10 

July

0

<10

<10

<10

<10 

August

<10

19

<10

<10

<10 

September

<10

14

0

<10

<10 

October

<10

19

<10

11

<10 

November

0

21

<10

19

<10 

December

<10

21

0

10

<10 

Total

13

192

18

103

31 

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).

Where fewer than 10 people received a dispensed medicine or Special Authority approval, we have changed the number shown to "<10" as we believe this is necessary to protect the privacy of these people (section 9(2)(a) of the OIA).

As there were fewer than 10 people dispensed trastuzumab emtansine in most months, we have provided annual totals to assist with your request. Additionally, as there were fewer than 10 people granted Special Authority approvals for trastuzumab in most months, we have also provided annual totals for this data.

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