Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus): Widened access
From 1 October 2023, Pharmac widened access to ocrelizumab (branded as Ocrevus) to include people with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).
What does this mean?
Eligible people with PPMS can now access treatment with ocrelizumab (Ocrevus). This is the first funded treatment available for PPMS. Before this, ocrelizumab was only funded for people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
If you think you may be eligible for treatment with ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), contact your neurologist.
Information for people using ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)
Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand has developed resources to help you use Ocrevus brand ocrelizumab and answer some frequently asked questions.
Treatment for people with RRMS remains the same. Their access to ocrelizumab or other MS treatments is unchanged because of this change.
Information for health care professionals
Identify people with PPMS
Please identify people with PPMS who may be eligible for treatment with ocrelizumab. We are working with primary care services, neurology services, and Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand to help to identify eligible people.
Changes to Special Authority for MS treatments
Ocrelizumab now has its own Special Authority form (SA2273)(external link)
Ocrelizumab was previously funded under the Multiple Sclerosis Special Authority form, which also gave approval for other MS treatments.
Everyone who was accessing ocrelizumab under the Multiple Sclerosis Special Authority before 1 October 2023 has been automatically issued with a new ocrelizumab Special Authority number.
If someone needs to change from ocrelizumab to a different treatment for RRMS (or vice versa), you will need to apply for a new initial Special Authority number using the
Who can prescribe ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)?
There are no restrictions on who can prescribe ocrelizumab.
‘Any relevant prescriber’ can now make a Special Authority application for any funded multiple sclerosis treatments, if they feel comfortable doing so. As it is a complex process, in most cases we expect a neurologist will make the initial funding application.
A neurologist is still required to confirm a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) meeting the 2017 McDonald diagnostic criteria(external link).
Resources for health care professionals and patients
Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand has developed resources to help you support people using the Ocrevus brand ocrelizumab and answer some frequently asked questions. (external link)
In addition to the widened access to emicizumab for the treatment of severe haemophilia A, Pharmac has also widened access to ocrelizumab for primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Who to contact
If you have any question about these funding changes, email email@example.com