Pharmac to fund the EpiPen for severe allergies

Media release Medicines

Te Pātaka Whaioranga - Pharmac has confirmed today that it will be fully funding the EpiPen brand of adrenaline auto injectors from 1 February 2023, which will benefit thousands of New Zealanders.

“We are pleased to be able to share that adrenaline auto-injectors will be funded for anyone who has previously experienced a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, or anyone who is at significant risk,” says Pharmac’s director of operations Lisa Williams.  

“Funding adrenaline auto-injectors will improve the quality of life for thousands of individuals who have allergies, their caregivers and whānau. We estimate that there will be around 12,000 people accessing adrenaline auto-injectors in the first year of funding, increasing to 17,000 people per year after five years,” says Ms Williams.

“Pharmac would like to acknowledge everyone who summited feedback on the consultation,” says Ms Williams. “The responses were supportive of funding and offered suggestions to make sure that everyone eligible can access them. This feedback has made sure adrenaline auto-injectors will make a considerable difference to people’s lives.”

One change we have made, after considering feedback about the diversity of patient pathways and the risk of inequities, is to allow access criteria applications for funding (which includes assessment of anaphylaxis risk) by any relevant practitioner rather than by a specialist. We consider this better reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of our healthcare system and will support more equitable access to adrenaline auto-injectors for those who need them.

Allergy New Zealand’s chief executive Mark Dixon says, “We are delighted with Pharmac’s decision and recognise everyone who has worked so hard to raise awareness of the need for this funding. We know the hugely positive impact it will make on the lives of the thousands of New Zealanders living with the risk of anaphylaxis. On their behalf we are grateful and look forward to working with Pharmac to ensure all communities have equal access and knowledge to benefit from this decision.”

“We were really pleased to share this decision with Allergy New Zealand and look forward to working with them to help New Zealanders benefit from this treatment,” says Ms Williams. “We are working to be faster, clearer, and simpler with our funding decisions. Today’s decision is one of many that we’ve made this year and we’re pleased to say there are more to come.”