Decision to fund tacrolimus ointment for people with facial eczema

Decision

We're pleased to announce a decision to fund tacrolimus ointment for the treatment of facial eczema, for people unable to use topical corticosteroids.

What we’re doing

We're pleased to announce a decision to fund tacrolimus ointment for the treatment of facial eczema, for people unable to use topical corticosteroids.

From 1 October 2021, Douglas Pharmaceutical Limited’s brand of tacrolimus ointment 0.1% (Zematop) will be funded, subject to certain eligibility criteria. This decision resulted from PHARMAC’s annual tender process.

We estimate that approximately 2,100 people will benefit from this decision in the first year. After five years we estimate that over 4,600 patients will benefit each year.

What does this mean for people

This decision means that people with facial eczema who are allergic or contraindicated to treatment with topical corticosteroids, will have funded access to tacrolimus ointment 0.1% subject to certain criteria.

Tacrolimus ointment is Medsafe approved for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in adults and adolescents (16 years and older) who do not receive adequate response from or are intolerant to conventional therapies (such as topical corticosteroids).(external link)

Any changes to the original proposal?

This decision was subject to a consultation letter dated 11 August 2020.

All consultation responses were supportive of the proposal and no changes have been made to the original proposal.

Who we think will be most interested

  • People with eczema on their face who cannot use topical corticosteroids on their skin, and their whānau
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society
  • Healthcare professionals involved in the management of patients with eczema
  • Community and Hospital Pharmacists
  • Pharmaceutical wholesalers and suppliers

Detail about this decision

Tacrolimus ointment 0.1% was included in the 2019/20 Invitation to Tender.

Following evaluation of the tender bids received, PHARMAC has made the decision to award the tender to Douglas’ brand of tacrolimus ointment (Zematop).

Tacrolimus ointment 0.1% (Zematop) will be listed in Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 October 2021 at the following price and subsidy (ex-manufacturer, excluding GST):

Chemical and presentation

Brand

Pack Size

Subsidy and price (ex-man., ex. GST)

Tacrolimus oint 0.1%

Zematop

30 g OP

$33.00

Tacrolimus ointment 0.1% will be listed in Section B, subject to the following eligibility criteria:

Special Authority for Subsidy

Initial application - only from a dermatologist or paediatrician, or any relevant practitioner on the recommendation of a dermatologist or paediatrician. Approvals valid without further renewal unless notified for applications meeting the following criteria:

Both:

  1. Patient has atopic dermatitis on the face; and
  2. Patient has at least one of the following contraindications to topical corticosteroids: periorificial dermatitis, rosacea, documented epidermal atrophy or documented allergy to topical corticosteroids.

The following restrictions will also apply in the community:

Maximum of 30 g per prescription

Note: a maximum of 30 g per prescription and no more than one prescription per 12 weeks.

Similar restrictions will apply in Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule.

As noted in the April 2021 tender notification, Zematop will have Sole Subsidised Supply status and Hospital Supply Status from 1 March 2022 until 30 June 2023.

This means that Zematop will be the only funded brand of tacrolimus ointment 0.1% during this time.

Our response to what you told us

We’re really grateful for the time people took to respond to this consultation. All consultation feedback was supportive, and we are pleased to be funding this treatment to address a current unmet need.

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.