Benzbromarone: Discontinuation

Discontinuation Active

The supplier of benzbromarone has informed us they are unable to secure ongoing supply of the 50 mg and 100 mg tablets in New Zealand.

On this page

Benzbromarone to be discontinued 

There has been significant difficulty sourcing this product globally. Supply of any approved or unapproved benzbromarone brand is unpredictable.

Based on the ongoing uncertainty in supply, we will delist benzbromarone from the Pharmaceutical Schedule. There is no date currently set for this.

This is not a step we have taken lightly. We acknowledge the disruption this is likely to cause for both patients and prescribers.

Information for people taking benzbromarone

PHARMAC is not able to secure a supply of benzbromarone in the long term. This means you will need to change to another medicine for your gout. 

We understand that changing to a different medicine is not easy and we apologise for this situation.

Talk to your doctor

We have already written to the doctor who prescribes benzbromarone for you. We've asked your doctor to contact you to discuss the different medicines that you could use instead to treat your gout. 

If your doctor has not contacted you, please contact them to talk about changing your medicines. Your doctor will answer any questions you have.

Expert advice

We told your doctor that three New Zealand gout experts are available to help. Together they can work out the best medicine for you to treat your gout and any other health conditions you have.

These experts are: 

Dr Nicola Dalbeth | Rheumatologist

Dr Peter Gow | Rheumatologist

Leanne Te Karu | Pharmacist Prescriber 

Information for prescribers

Prescribers will need to:

  • ensure no new patients are started on benzbromarone
  • transition patients currently taking benzbromarone to an alternative urate-lowering treatment as soon as possible

Download a letter you can use to contact your patient

The Ministry of Health is only accepting Special Authority renewals for benzbromarone. They are not approving initial applications.

Specialist gout advice for prescribers

In addition to your local arrangements for specialist advice, two leading gout rheumatologists have made themselves available to support prescribers with any individual patient concerns or questions.

Email your contact details to enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz and one of them will be in touch

Further information 

BPACnz has recent New Zealand-based clinical guidance on gout management.

Alternative treatment options

PHARMAC has received clinical advice from the Rheumatology Sub-committee of PTAC.

They advise that practitioners should reconsider whether alternative urate-lowering therapies – such as allopurinol and probenecid – can be used safely, if they are not already. Where possible, these therapies should be titrated to maximal doses.

Check the funded medicines for gout in the Schedule

Febuxostat is also available by Special Authority

We have amended the Special Authority criteria for febuxostat. This gives patients transitioning from benzbromarone to access funded febuxostat. 

Check the Schedule listing for the latest Special Authority form(external link)

For pharmacists

We understand limited supplies of benzbromarone are available. However, as there is ongoing uncertainty in supply, it is likely benzbromarone will be delisted from Section B and Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule. There is no date currently set for this.

We will update this page if benzabromarone is delisted.

Who to contact

If you are taking benzbromarone, talk to your GP or rheumatologist about your options for continuing to manage your gout. 

If you are a prescriber seeking: