Hydroxyurea [Hydroxycarbamide]: Devatis is the new brand

Hydroxyurea is a pharmaceutical cancer treatment. Hydroxyurea is mainly used in the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms and occasionally in chronic myelocytic leukaemia and sickle-cell disease.

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What’s changing?

The funded brand of hydroxyurea is changing from Hydrea to Devatis. 

This change began on 1 September 2020. There was a five-month transition period, from 1 September 2020 until 1 February 2021. 

When the new brand will be available

  • From 1 September 2020 Devatis was fully funded and available for patients.
  • From 1 February 2021 only Devatis is fully funded. Hydrea is no longer funded.

If you want to stay on your current brand of hydroxyurea, you can ask your pharmacist to check its price and availability. PHARMAC cannot guarantee the availability of Hydrea after 1 February 2021. 

Devatis works the same as Hydrea

  • Devatis works the same way as Hydrea
  • Devatis has the same active ingredient which is delivered to the body in the same way.
  • Devatis has been evaluated by Medsafe to ensure it’s safe. 

You shouldn’t notice any difference when you change to Devatis. If you have any questions about this change, talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. 

Your brand is changing to help us fund other medicines

A decision to change the funded brand of a medicine isn’t taken lightly. Our job is to make sure New Zealanders have access to the medicines they need. Making changes to brands frees up funding to help more New Zealanders access the medicines they need. 

For healthcare professionals

You play an important role in supporting patients through medicine brand changes. 

Key points to tell your patients about Devatis

  • Devatis has the same active ingredient as Hydrea
  • The new brand is just as safe and works the same as the old brand.
  • Patients shouldn’t notice any difference in how it affects them.
  • Patients take Devatis at the same frequency as Hydrea. 

Brand switch fee

A brand switch fee will be in place to ensure pharmacists are reimbursed for any additional patient counselling required to support patients to transition to a new brand successfully. 


The pharmacode for Hydrea is 203947.

The pharmacode for Devatis is 2593246. 

Who to contact

If you have any questions about changing brands, talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

If you have questions about funding or access criteria: