Proposal for the supply of funded paracetamol and ibuprofen

Medicines

Consultation Closed

We’re proposing some changes to the funded brands of paracetamol and ibuprofen.

What we’re proposing

We’re proposing some changes to the funded brands of paracetamol and ibuprofen, which are used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain.

In summary, we propose to:

  • change the funded brands of paracetamol in blister and bottle packaging from mid 2021 under a sole supply arrangement
  • maintain the current dispensing restrictions for paracetamol
  • maintain monthly dispensing of paracetamol until further notice
  • maintain the currently funded brand of ibuprofen under a new sole supply arrangement.

This proposal results from a competitive process for the supply of funded paracetamol (bottle and blister packaging) and ibuprofen.

This would help to secure continued supply of paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Consultation closes at 4 pm on Monday, 14 December 2020 and feedback can be emailed to procurement@pharmac.govt.nz.

What would the effect be?

For patients

Paracetamol

Paracetamol 500 mg tablets would continue to be funded. There would be a change to the funded brands of paracetamol from 1 June 2021 (bottle packaging) and 1 August 2021 (blister packaging).

Dispensing quantity restrictions of 300 tablets per prescription would continue.(external link) For those with long term conditions who require regular daily dosing for one month or greater, prescribers would continue to be able to endorse prescriptions to allow for up to 720 tablets to be dispensed.

Ibuprofen

There would be no change for people who currently use funded ibuprofen 200 mg tablets.

For prescribers

Paracetamol

Prescribers would continue to be able to prescribe paracetamol as they do now, noting that the current reduced dispensing quantity restrictions (except by endorsement) would continue, and there would be a change to the funded brands of paracetamol.

Ibuprofen

Prescribers would continue to be able to prescribe ibuprofen as they do now. There would be no change to the funded brand of ibuprofen tablet 200 mg.

For community pharmacies

Paracetamol

Reduced dispensing (with exception by endorsement) would continue.

Bottle packaging

From 1 June 2021, the Noumed Paracetamol brand of paracetamol 500 mg tablets would be listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. From 1 December 2021 the Noumed Paracetamol brand would have Sole Subsidised Supply status until 30 June 2024 and any other funded brands would be delisted. Please note that this is the same product that is currently being supplied by API (the Pharmacare paracetamol brand) but with sponsorship transferring to Noumed so the only physical change to the product would be the packaging.

Blister packaging

From 1 August 2021, the Pacimol brand of paracetamol 500 mg tablets would be listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. From 1 February 2022 Pacimol would have Sole Subsidised Supply status until 30 June 2024 and any other funded brands would be delisted.

Ibuprofen

There would be no change to the product for the ibuprofen 200 mg tablet market other than the addition of Sole Subsidised Supply status from 1 February 2021 until 30 June 2024 and a price change from 1 February 2021.

For hospital pharmacies

Paracetamol

Bottle pack

From 1 June 2021, the Noumed Paracetamol brand would be listed in Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule. Hospital pharmacies could continue to purchase any brand of paracetamol 500 mg bottle pack for 6 months until 1 December 2021, after which the Noumed Paracetamol brand would have Hospital Supply Status until 30 June 2024 with a discretionary variance (DV) limit of 1%.

Blister pack

From 1 August 2021, the Pacimol brand would be listed in Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule. Hospital pharmacies could continue to purchase any brand of paracetamol 500 mg tablets blister pack for 6 months until 1 February 2022, after which the Pacimol brand would have Hospital Supply Status until 30 June 2024 with a DV limit of 1%.

Ibuprofen

From 1 February 2021, there would be a price change for the Relieve brand and this brand would continue to have Hospital Supply Status until 30 June 2024 with a DV limit of 1%.

Who we think will be interested

  • People who are currently using paracetamol or ibuprofen and their family, whānau or caregivers
  • Clinicians who treat people with pain and inflammatory conditions
  • Hospital and community pharmacists, DHBs, and wholesalers
  • Suppliers of paracetamol 500 mg tablets and ibuprofen 200 mg tablets

Why we’re proposing this

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are both very high-volume medicines and maintaining continued supply is important to the New Zealand healthcare system. PHARMAC released a Request for Tenders (RFT) for the supply of paracetamol 500 mg tablets and ibuprofen 200 mg tablets on 28 August 2020 to assist us to maintain a secure, continued supply of both of these medicines.

As a result of the RFT, PHARMAC has entered into a provisional agreement with:

  • Noumed Pharmaceuticals for the supply of paracetamol 500 mg in bottle packaging (Noumed Paracetamol)
  • Miro Healthcare for the supply of paracetamol 500 mg in blister packaging (Pacimol)
  • Mylan for the supply of ibuprofen 200 mg tablets (Relieve).

Feedback from this consultation will help us decide if the agreements with Noumed Pharmaceuticals, Miro Healthcare and Mylan should be confirmed.

Details about our proposal

Paracetamol

Bottle packaging

From 1 June 2021, the Noumed Paracetamol brand of paracetamol 500 mg tablets would be listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. From 1 December 2021 the Noumed Paracetamol brand would have Sole Subsidised Supply status and Hospital Supply Status until 30 June 2024 and any other funded brands would be delisted.

This product would have a DV limit of 1%, meaning that in hospitals, only 1% of total purchases of the relevant presentation of paracetamol tablets could be a brand other than Noumed Paracetamol.

Please note that this is the same product that is currently being supplied by API (the Pharmacare paracetamol brand) but with sponsorship transferring to Noumed so the only physical change to the product would be the packaging.

Blister packaging

From 1 August 2021, the Pacimol brand of paracetamol 500 mg tablets would be listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. From 1 February 2022 Pacimol would have Sole Subsidised Supply status until 30 June 2024 and any other funded brands would be delisted.

This product would have a DV limit of 1%, meaning that in hospitals, only 1% of total purchases of the relevant presentation of paracetamol tablets could be a brand other than Pacimol.

Restricted dispensing for paracetamol tablets

Dispensing restrictions for paracetamol tablets were implemented on 9 March 2020 as a result of disruptions to the supply of paracetamol(external link).

Clinical advice received as part of this RFT process supports these restrictions remaining in place until at least the end of the sole supply period (30 June 2024), to continue to allow PHARMAC to closely monitor and control stock levels and to ensure continued access to those who need this medication.

Monthly dispensing for paracetamol tablets

Stat (all-at-once) dispensing was removed for paracetamol 500 mg tablets on 9 March 2020, as a result of disruptions to the supply of paracetamol. This change to monthly dispensing would remain in place as part of this proposal until further notice to allow PHARMAC to closely monitor and control stock levels and to ensure continued access to those who need this medication.

Ibuprofen

From 1 February 2021, there would be a price change for the Relieve brand of ibuprofen 200mg tablets and the Relieve brand would have Sole Supply Status and Hospital Supply Status until 30 June 2024.

This product would have a DV limit of 1%, meaning that in hospitals, only 1% of total purchases of the relevant presentation of ibuprofen tablets could be a brand other than Relieve.

To provide feedback

Send us an email: procurement@pharmac.govt.nz by 14 December 2020.

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