Proposal to decrease price and award sole supply for alendronate

Medicines Consultation Closed

What we’re proposing

PHARMAC is seeking feedback on a proposal to award sole supply to the currently listed brand of alendronate sodium 70 mg tablets (Fosamax and Fosamax Plus), a treatment for osteoporosis.

Price reductions would take effect from 1 February 2019 and this proposal would mean there would be no brand change for people taking alendronate.

Consultation closes at 5 pm on Wednesday, 25 October 2018 and feedback can be emailed to

What would the effect be?

There would be no changes to the funded presentations or brands of alendronate sodium 70 mg, with or without colecalciferol (vitamin D3).

There would also be no changes to the funding restrictions that apply to alendronate, though this proposal wouldn’t prevent the funding restrictions from changing at a later date.

From 1 February 2019 the price would reduce for alendronate sodium 70 mg presentations. With less money spent on alendronate sodium, PHARMAC would have more capacity to invest in other medicines.

Merck Sharpe & Dohme NZ would be awarded sole supply until 30 June 2022. This means that Fosamax and Fosamax Plus would be the only funded brand of alendronate sodium 70 mg until that date.

Who we think will be 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

About alendronate

Alendronate sodium 70 mg is funded for the treatment of osteoporosis. Two presentations are listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule. One contains alendronate only; the other contains alendronate and colecalciferol (vitamin D3) 5,600 iu.

There is also a 40 mg alendronate sodium tablet which is funded for treatment of Paget’s disease. This proposal only relates to the 70 mg forms and would not affect the 40 mg form.

Details and why we’re proposing this

PHARMAC released a Request for Tender (RFT) for the supply of alendronate sodium to community pharmacies and DHB hospitals on 8 August 2018.

PHARMAC proposes to award Sole Subsidised Supply for supply to community pharmacies and Hospital Supply Status (HSS) to Merck Sharpe & Dohme NZ for the supply of alendronate sodium 70 mg and alendronate sodium 70 mg with colecalciferol 5,600 iu until 30 June 2022.

The proposal would also lead to price decreases in both of these products from 1 February 2019. The price and subsidy would be notified should PHARMAC decide to progress the proposal following consideration of consultation feedback.

We consider that this proposal ensures continuous supply of both alendronate sodium 70 mg presentations. It also makes savings which would allow investment in other medicines.

To provide feedback

Send us an email: by 5pm on Wednesday, 25 October 2018.

All feedback received before the closing date will be considered by PHARMAC’s Board (or its delegate) prior to making a decision on this proposal.

Feedback we receive is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) and we will consider any request to have information withheld in accordance with our obligations under the OIA. Anyone providing feedback, whether on their own account or on behalf of an organisation, and whether in a personal or professional capacity, should be aware that the content of their feedback and their identity may need to be disclosed in response to an OIA request.

We are not able to treat any part of your feedback as confidential unless you specifically request that we do, and then only to the extent permissible under the OIA and other relevant laws and requirements. If you would like us to withhold any commercially sensitive, confidential proprietary, or personal information included in your submission, please clearly state this in your submission and identify the relevant sections of your submission that you would like it withheld. PHARMAC will give due consideration to any such request.