Decision to remove funding restrictions for alendronate 70 mg products, decrease price, and award sole supply

Medicines

Decision

We’re pleased to announce that the funding restrictions on alendronate 70 mg products will be removed from 1 February 2019. At the same time, the price and subsidy of these products will decrease.

The Fosamax and Fosamax Plus brands, supplied by Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), will remain the only funded brands of alendronate 70 mg and alendronate 70 mg plus colecalciferol 5,600 iu, respectively. These brands have been awarded sole supply until 30 June 2022, meaning that they will be the only funded brands until that date.

Any changes to the original proposal?

Our original proposal, which was the subject of a consultation letter dated 10 October 2018, did not include removal of restrictions from alendronate 70 mg products. After careful consideration of the consultation feedback, PHARMAC has decided to remove the Special Authority restrictions from alendronate 70 mg products.

Who we think will be most interested

  • Clinicians who treat osteoporosis and people with the condition.
  • Hospital and community pharmacists, DHBs, suppliers and wholesalers.
  • Suppliers of alendronate or other osteoporosis medicines.

Detail about this decision

From 1 February 2019, the Special Authority criteria and Hospital Indication Restrictions that apply to alendronate sodium 70 mg and to alendronate sodium 70 mg with colecalciferol 5,600 iu [vitamin D] will be removed.

Also from 1 February 2019, the price and subsidy for these products will decrease as follows:

Chemical

Presentation

Brand name

Pack size

Current price and subsidy

New price and subsidy

Alendronate sodium

Tab 70 mg

Fosamax

4

$4.82

$2.44

Alendronate sodium with colecalciferol

Tab 70 mg with colecalciferol 5,600 iu

Fosamax Plus

4

$4.82

$1.51

From 1 July 2019, Fosamax and Fosamax Plus will be the only funded brands of alendronate and alendronate with colecalciferol, respectively, in the community until 30 June 2022.

Fosamax and Fosamax Plus will be the Hospital Supply Status brands of alendronate and alendronate with colecalciferol, respectively, in DHB hospitals from 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2022, with a 1% DV limit.

This decision does not have any effect on the funding of alendronate 40 mg.

There will also be minor amendments made to other Special Authority criteria and Hospital restrictions that reference the current alendronate Special Authority. 

Our response to what you told us

We’re really grateful for the time people took to respond to this consultation. The majority of responders were supportive of the proposal consulted on (which did not include widening of access).

The main theme raised in the consultation feedback was that consideration should be given to removal of the Special Authority. Following consideration of this feedback, and taking into account the pricing of alendronate relative to risedronate (which is listed without restrictions), PHARMAC has decided to remove the Special Authority and Hospital Restrictions from alendronate 70 mg with and without colecalciferol.

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 66 00 50.