Mesalazine (Asacol) 800 mg tablets approved

Medicines Decision

PHARMAC is pleased to announce the approval of an agreement with Baxter Healthcare Limited to fund Asacol 800 mg tablets.

This was the subject of a consultation letter dated 21 October 2015. There are no changes from the original consultation document. The proposal was approved as consulted on.

In summary, this proposal is to list Asacol 800 mg (mesalazine) tablets (90 tablet pack) from 1 January 2016:

  • in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule, with no restrictions; and
  • in Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule with no restrictions.

Details of the decision

From 1 January 2016 Asacol 800 mg tablets will be listed in the Rectal and Colonic Anti-inflammatories subgroup of the Alimentary Tract & Metabolism therapeutic group of Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule as listed below (ex-manufacturer, excl. GST):

Chemical Presentation Brand Pack size Price and subsidy
mesalazine Tab 800 mg Asacol 90 $85.55

Feedback received

We appreciate all of the feedback that we received and acknowledge the time people took to respond. All consultation responses received by Thursday 5 November 2015 were considered in their entirety in making a decision on the proposed changes. All responses were supportive of the proposal, and the following issues were raised in relation to specific aspects of the proposal:

Theme Comment
Supportive of the proposal. A higher strength tablet could help reduce pill burden, improve adherence and patient health outcomes. Noted.
Asacol 400 mg should remain available for patients that require a smaller dose or tablet size. Asacol 400 mg will remain listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule.
The proposal could be cost-saving to DHBs. PHARMAC staff note this proposal is expected to be cost neutral or potentially cost saving to the Combined Pharmaceutical Budget whilst taking into account market growth. PHARMAC staff also note that we would consider proposals for other brands or presentations of mesalazine if they were cost-saving or cost neutral to the Pharmaceutical Schedule whilst taking into account market growth.

More information

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 66 00 50.