Immune checkpoint inhibitors for lung cancer postponed

PHARMAC has postponed the planned request for proposals (RFP) for immune checkpoint inhibitors for lung cancer. 

We had indicated in our Annual Procurement Plan that we may release an RFP in 2020/21. However, we cannot seek an RFP until we are confident that there are sufficient funds to invest in these treatments.

We are disappointed that we aren’t able to progress the RFP in the timeframe that we had originally planned. However, we are required to stay within our budget. 

Expert advice

At their July 2020 meeting, the Cancer Treatments Subcommittee (CaTSoP) considered the current landscape for immunotherapy treatments, including updated data for the use of these agents.

Next steps

We are undertaking further economic assessment work to ensure that we have incorporated the most up-to-date information.

PHARMAC continues to work hard to give New Zealanders access to medicines and medical devices to help them live healthy lives. We will reconsider issuing the RFP as soon as we are able.

COVID-19 has affected costs and supply of medicines

The global response to COVID-19 has:

  • slowed or halted activities in manufacturing plants, and
  • impacted the importation of medicines and devices globally.

As a result, product prices are increasing and we're experiencing disruptions to supply.

We want to fund more treatments for more New Zealanders. But until we know what impact COVID-19 will have on costs of the medicines we already fund, we must be cautious.

Most of the products we fund are imported from countries that have been severely hit by COVID-19. We are currently working through the fiscal impacts of those disruptions.