Widening of funded access to erlotinib (Tarceva)

Medicines Decision

PHARMAC has decided to widen funded access to erlotinib (Tarceva) from 1 January 2014.

This was the subject of a consultation letter dated 23 October 2013.

The effect of the decision is that from 1 January 2014:

  • The price and subsidy for erlotinib tablets 100 mg and 150 mg (Tarceva) will be reduced as follows (note prices are ex-manufacturer, excluding GST);
    Pharmaceutical Brand Presentation Pack size Current Price and Subsidy Price and Subsidy from 1 January 2014
    Erlotinib Tarceva Tab 100 mg 30 $3,100.00 $1,133.00
    Erlotinib Tarceva Tab 150 mg 30 $3,950.00 $1,700.00
  • Funded access to erlotinib under Special Authority will be widened to include first line treatment for treatment naïve patients with locally advanced, or metastatic, unresectable, non-squamous Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) expressing activating mutations of EGFR tyrosine kinase; and
  • The Special Authority criteria for funding of erlotinib for the second line treatment will be amended to require a documentation of EGFR positive disease.

This decision provides access to an alternative fully funded tyrosine kinase, for the first or second line treatment, for patients with locally advanced, or metastatic, unresectable, non-squamous NSCLC expressing activating mutations in EGFR tyrosine kinase.

Feedback received

We appreciate all of the feedback that we received and acknowledge the time people took to respond. All consultation responses received by 12 November 2013 were considered in their entirety in making a decision on the proposal. All responders supported the proposal.  A summary of the issue/question raised and PHARMAC’s comment on this issue is discussed in the table below:

Theme PHARMAC Comment
With a pack size of 30 tablets it is unlikely that an amount less than an original pack will be dispensed. However, to ensure that community pharmacy is not penalised financially for any unused medication or broken packs, erlotinib should be listed in the Schedule as an original pack (OP) dispensing, or have the wastage rule applied. We consider it unlikely that part packs of this medication would be dispensed, therefore, do not consider OP dispensing or a wastage rule is necessary.

More information

If you have any questions about this decision, you can call our toll free number (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday) on 0800 66 00 50.