Pharmac confirms primidone to stay the same

Media release Medicines

Pharmac is pleased to confirm that there will be no change in primidone tablets, a treatment used for the management of seizures and epilepsy.

In June Pharmac put out a consultation on the supply of an alternative brand of primidone. “We did this because primidone’s supplier Apotex had advised us that they would no longer be able to supply any of its products to New Zealand,” says Pharmac’s director of operations Lisa Williams.

“Primidone is classified in the United Kingdom as a category 1 epilepsy medicine with the advice to prescribers that patients be maintained on a specific brand(external link), but our clinical experts told us continued access to this medicine is essential,” says Lisa.

“We had conversation after conversation with the supplier and they categorically told that there was no other option other than changing brand. However, it is amazing what a little bit of public pressure does because the day after our consultation was in the media, they phoned us with an option for it be continued in a different way.

“The supplier will change from Apotex to Clinect, but the manufacturer of the tablets will stay the same.

“This is the beauty of consulting. It is a chance to sense check with all suppliers, the healthcare sector, patient groups and the general public before we make a final decision.

“Although we had a preferred supplier for an alternative brand, this is the best solution for the 800 kiwis currently taking primidone.

There will be a change in brand name and labelling of the product in the first half of 2022. We will make sure we communicate this so people know this is just a change in name, not a change in the product.

We know that the proposed change may have caused distress and we are sorry for that, but we are really pleased with the positive outcome.”