Decision to fund vinorelbine capsules

Medicines Decision

Te Pātaka Whaioranga - Pharmac will fund vinorelbine capsules from 1 May 2023.

What we’re doing

We're pleased to announce a decision to fund vinorelbine capsules through an agreement with Te Arai BioFarma Ltd from 1 May 2023. This decision has been made through Pharmac’s Annual Tender process. 

Vinorelbine is an anti-cancer medicine, sometimes referred to as chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in the body. It can be used alone, or in combination with other medicines, to treat a number of types of cancer, primarily breast and lung cancers. We understand that vinorelbine can also be used to treat a non-cancerous type of abnormal growth called desmoid tumours. 

Vinorelbine is supplied as an intravenous and oral medicine. Pharmac currently funds an intravenous presentation of vinorelbine, with no access restrictions. 

Vinorelbine capsules will be funded without restriction. This means it can be prescribed for any relevant use.

Any changes to the original proposal?

This decision was subject to a consultation letter dated 1 November 2022.

No changes were made to the original proposal following consultation. We received feedback from consumers, clinicians, professional societies, and advocacy groups. 

We want to thank everyone who took the time to provide us with their feedback. A summary of the feedback received and our responses to this feedback is included below. 

What does this mean for people and prescribers

This decision means that from 1 May 2023, people with various cancers (including those currently treated with intravenous vinorelbine) will have access to oral vinorelbine. This will allow people to receive treatment from their community pharmacy and take their medicine at home. 

You can read more about the new funded brand on the Medsafe datasheet.(external link)

Who we think will be most interested

  • People with cancer, their caregivers, whānau and communities
  • People with desmoid tumours, their caregivers, whānau and communities
  • Groups who advocate for and support cancer patients
  • Oncologists, primary care providers and others involved in the management of cancer
  • Community and hospital pharmacists
  • Pharmaceutical suppliers and wholesalers 

Detail about this decision

Vinorelbine capsules (Vinorelbine Te Arai) will be listed in Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 May 2023 at the following price and subsidy (ex-manufacturer, excluding GST). Vinorelbine (Vinorelbine Te Arai) will have Principal Supply Status with a DV Limit of 5% from 1 October 2023 to 30 June 2025. 

Chemical Presentation Brand (Supplier) Pack Size Subsidy and price
(ex-man., ex. GST)
Vinorelbine Cap 20 mg Vinorelbine Te Arai (Te Arai) 1 $30.00
Vinorelbine Cap 30 mg Vinorelbine Te Arai (Te Arai) 1 $40.00
Vinorelbine Cap 80 mg Vinorelbine Te Arai (Te Arai) 1 $60.00

There will be no restrictions on who can use or prescribe oral vinorelbine.

Our response to what you told us

We’re really grateful for the time people took to respond to this consultation. Responses were largely supportive of the proposal. A summary of the main themes raised in feedback and our responses to feedback received are available below: 

Theme Pharmac comment
Highlighted the substantial unmet health need in oncology and indicated that this proposal would not address this need. We acknowledge that funding oral vinorelbine will not address the wider unmet health need in oncology. However, we consider there are benefits for patients, their whānau and the health system, including the reduced demand for infusion services and the availability of a more convenient treatment option for patients.  This decision does not prohibit the progression of other oncology proposals that have positive funding recommendations.
Sought clarification on the ongoing listing of IV vinorelbine. Oral vinorelbine will be listed alongside IV vinorelbine.

If you have any questions about this decision, you can email us at; or call our toll free number (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday) on 0800 660 050.