Year in Review: Anti-infectives
Anti-infectives are medicines that work to treat infections. Antibiotics, anti-fungals, and anti-virals are examples of anti-infective medicines. This financial year PHARMAC funded new treatments for HIV and hepatitis C.
In December 2018, PHARMAC awarded sole supply for seven antiretroviral treatments used in the treatment of HIV infection and, in January 2019, PHARMAC approved a multiproduct agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme resulting in the listing of a new, once-daily presentation of raltegravir for the treatment of HIV.
From 1 February 2019, PHARMAC started funding glecaprevir and pibrentasvir (Maviret), a lifesaving treatment and cure for those in New Zealand living with hepatitis C. In many instances this treatment can lead to fewer cases of liver cancer, reduce the need for liver transplants or prevent early death. This is a major step forward for the treatment and cure of hepatitis C, with estimates that up to 50,000 New Zealanders could benefit.
Within the first three months of funding starting, over 1500 New Zealanders had started treatment with Maviret. The uptake has been at expected levels, but we know that a large proportion of people with hepatitis C don’t know they have it. PHARMAC is working with the wider health care sector on initiatives to identify those infected with hepatitis C.
Expenditure in the anti-infectives therapeutic group has risen due to the listing of additional hepatitis C treatments in the past three years, however, expenditure on other anti-infective medicines has remained steady.
Total number of people dispensed Maviret by each DHB
1 February 2019 to 30 June 2019*