Decision to award sole supply for paracetamol and ibuprofen

Medicines

Decision

We're pleased to announce that PHARMAC has made a decision to make changes to the funded brands of paracetamol and ibuprofen.

This decision means that:

  • The funded brand of paracetamol tablets in bottle packaging is changing to Noumed Paracetamol supplied by Noumed Pharmaceuticals from 1 June 2021. The current funded brands of paracetamol tablets (bottle pack), Pharmacare and Paracetamol Pharmacare, will be delisted from the Pharmaceutical Schedule on 1 December 2021.
  • The funded brand of paracetamol tablets in blister packaging is changing to Pacimol supplied by Miro Healthcare from 1 August 2021. The current brands of paracetamol tablets (blister pack), Pharmacare, Paracetamol Pharmacare, Pharmacy Health, Medco, Paracare, Ethics Paracetamol Classic, and Panadol Mini Caps, will be delisted from the Pharmaceutical Schedule on or before1 February 2022.
  • The current dispensing restrictions and monthly dispensing for paracetamol will remain in place.
  • The funded brand of ibuprofen 200 mg tablets, Relieve, supplied by Mylan will continue to be funded at a new price and subsidy from 1 February 2021.

This decision results from a competitive process for the supply of funded paracetamol tablets (bottle and blister packs) and ibuprofen tablets. It would help to secure continued supply of paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Any changes to the original proposal?

This decision was subject to a consultation dated 24 November 2020 for the supply of paracetamol tablets (bottle and blister packs) and ibuprofen 200 mg tablets.

No changes have been made to the original proposal outlined in the consultation.

Who we think will be most 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 tablets and ibuprofen 200 mg tablets

Detail about this decision

The following changes will occur in Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule.

Chemical

Presentation

Brand

Pack size

Price & subsidy

Date of change

Paracetamol

Tab 500 mg - bottle pack

Noumed Paracetamol

1000

$17.92

1 June 2021

Paracetamol

Tab 500 mg - blister pack

Pacimol

1000

$19.75

1 August 2021

Ibuprofen

Tab 200 mg

Relieve

1000

$21.40

1 February 2021

  • The funded brand of paracetamol tablets in bottle packaging is changing to Noumed Paracetamol supplied by Noumed Pharmaceuticals from 1 June 2021 until at least 30 June 2024.
  • The changes will be implemented over a six-month transition period, starting from 1 June 2021 and ending on 1 December 2021. On 1 December 2021, the current funded brands of paracetamol tablets (bottle pack), Pharmacare and Paracetamol Pharmacare, which are currently supplied by API/PSM will be delisted from the Pharmaceutical Schedule and will no longer be funded.
  • This means that by 1 December 2021, people currently using the Pharmacare and Paracetamol Pharmacare brands of paracetamol tablets bottle pack will need to change to the Noumed Paracetamol brand of paracetamol 500 mg bottle pack to remain on a funded brand.
  • From 1 December 2021, Noumed Paracetamol will be the only funded brand of paracetamol tablets (bottle pack) listed in Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule. A DV Limit of 1% will apply for DHB Hospitals. This sole supply agreement will apply until at least 30 June 2024, with optional extensions of up to two years, that may be implemented at the discretion of both PHARMAC and the supplier.
  • The funded brand of paracetamol tablets in blister packaging is changing to Pacimol supplied by Miro Healthcare from 1 August 2021 until at least 30 June 2024.
  • The changes will be implemented over a six-month transition period, starting from 1 August 2021 and ending on 1 February 2022. On 1 February 2022, the current funded brands of paracetamol tablets (blister pack), Pharmacare, Paracetamol Pharmacare, Pharmacy Health, Medco, Paracare, Ethics Paracetamol Classic, and Panadol Mini Caps, which are currently supplied by API/PSM, GSK and Multichem will be delisted from the Pharmaceutical Schedule and will no longer be funded.
  • This means that by 1 February 2022, people currently using the Pharmacare, Paracetamol Pharmacare, Pharmacy Health, Medco, Paracare, Ethics Paracetamol Classic, and Panadol Mini Caps of paracetamol tablets (blister pack) will need to change to the Pacimol brand of paracetamol blister pack to remain on a funded brand.
  • From 1 February 2022, Pacimol will be the only funded brand of paracetamol tablets (blister pack) listed in Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule. A DV Limit of 1% will apply for DHB Hospitals. This sole supply agreement will apply until at least 30 June 2024, with optional extensions of up to two years, that may implemented at the discretion of both PHARMAC and the supplier.
  • The funded brand of ibuprofen 200 mg tablets is not changing from Relieve supplied by Mylan. Ibuprofen 200 mg tablets will be supplied at a new price from 1 February 2021.
  • Relieve will continue to be the only funded brand of ibuprofen 200 mg tablets listed in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule and, from 1 February 2021, will be supplied under a sole supply agreement.
  • From 1 February 2021, Relieve will be the only brand of ibuprofen 200 mg tablets DHB hospitals can purchase, subject to a DV Limit of 1%.
  • This sole supply agreement will apply until at least 30 June 2024, with optional extensions of up to two years, that may be implemented at the discretion of both PHARMAC and the supplier.

Our response to what you told us

We’re very grateful for the time people took to respond to this consultation. A summary of the main themes raised in feedback and our responses to the feedback received are as below:

Theme

PHARMAC Comment

Concern regarding continuity of supply

Feedback noted that continuity of supply is more important than the pricing, especially with regards to paracetamol. Noted that disruptions to supply chain can cost more than the initial savings made.

PHARMAC take many considerations into account when evaluating tender bids. PHARMAC agrees that continuity of supply is critical and is one of the criteria considered as part of the evaluation process.

Suitability considerations

Feedback received noted the importance of palatability of the paracetamol tablets for patients. Feedback noted that the currently funded brand dissolves quickly upon swallowing causing aversion for some patients.

Clinical advice is sought as part of PHARMAC’s processes and product suitability is a part of PHARMAC’s Factors for Consideration which guide our decision making.

Continuity of supply

Feedback noted that after a period of instability for paracetamol supply they are supportive of a move that will help to address this.

PHARMAC noted this feedback.

No brand change for Ibuprofen and additional savings for investment

Feedback was supportive of there not being a brand change for ibuprofen and noted this process will free up savings for other investments. 

PHARMAC noted this feedback

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