Cancer medicine funding: Parallel assessment

Suppliers can apply to Pharmac for funding of cancer medicines at the same time as they’re assessed by Medsafe.

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We anticipate parallel assessment can reduce the time it takes for cancer medicines to go from submission to Medsafe to being ranked by Pharmac by 12 to 15 months.

What’s different for cancer medicines

Pharmac generally requires medicines to be registered by Medsafe before assessing an application for funding. We have made an exception for cancer medicines.

We will accept funding applications for cancer medicines that are still being assessed by Medsafe. This does not mean that cancer medicines are prioritised over other medicines and it does not guarantee that a particular medicine will be funded. It just means the funding assessment process starts sooner.

Our robust process for considering applications remains the same. Our expert advisory committees will consider all the evidence and make their recommendations as usual.

Medsafe registration is still required before a medicine could be funded.

A similar process currently exists for medicines for rare disorders.

Which cancer medicines are covered

We will accept applications for all medicines for cancer treatment or the prevention of cancer recurrence. This does not include medicines that could contribute to preventing cancer, like nicotine replacement therapy or sunscreen.

If a medicine treats cancer and other conditions, Pharmac will only consider the cancer indication through parallel assessment.

We will review the parallel assessment approach with a view to expanding it to other medicines in time.

Making an application

Only suppliers can apply for parallel assessment of a funding application and applications must be made through PharmConnect.

Applicants will need to provide proof that a Medsafe registration application has been made and that registration fees have been paid.

Clinicians and consumers can only make a funding application if the medicine is already registered with Medsafe.

How to make a funding application 

More information

This approach supports the Government’s Cancer Action Plan.

New Zealand Cancer Action Plan: 2019–2029 – Ministry of Health’s website(external link) 

Search the Application Tracker(external link) 

Medicines for rare disorders

Who to contact

If you have any questions, contact us on:

0800 660 050