Proposal to list Asacol 800 mg

Medicines Consultation Closed

PHARMAC is seeking feedback on a provisional agreement with Baxter Healthcare Limited.

In summary, this proposal is to list Asacol 800 mg tablets (Mesalazine) (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.

Mesalazine is an anti-inflammatory drug and would listed in the Alimentary Tract & Metabolism Therapeutic Group.

Details of the proposal can be found on the following pages.

Feedback sought 

We would welcome your feedback on this proposal. To provide feedback please submit an email, fax or letter by Thursday 5 November 2015 to:

An-Ruo Bian  
Therapeutic Group Manager
PO Box 10-254
Wellington 6143

Fax: (04) 460 4995

All feedback received before the closing date will be considered by PHARMAC’s Board (or Chief Executive acting under delegated authority) 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

Details of the proposal

  • Mesalazine would be listed in Section B and in Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 January 2016 at the following price and subsidy (ex-manufacturer, excluding GST):

Pharmaceutical Name (Brand)

Strength and Form

Pack Size

Proposed price and subsidy

Mesalazine (Asacol)

Tab 800 mg



Background to the proposal

Asacol 400 mg tablets have been listed in Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule, with no restrictions, since 1 July 1996.

The Gastroenterology Subcommittee of PHARMAC’s Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC), at its May 2014 meeting, considered a proposal from Baxter for the funding of Asacol 800 mg and recommended listing with a medium priority. PTAC endorsed the Subcommittee’s recommendation at its November 2014 meeting.

The Gastrointestinal Subcommittee noted that the listing of Asacol 800 mg would be helpful for patients taking numerous other medications as it could reduce the number of tablets a patient would need to take each day.  It also considered the larger size of the Asacol 800 mg tablet would not be a problem. 

The Subcommittee’s minutes are available here.