Pharmac considers funding rituximab for IgG4-related disease

Media release Medicines

Te Pātaka Whaioranga - Pharmac has initiated a consultation today on widening funded access to rituximab (branded as Riximyo) for people with IgG4-related disease, a chronic inflammatory condition.

“Pharmac currently funds rituximab for several indications including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune and blood conditions,” says Pharmac’s Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes.

“While IgG4-related disease is uncommon and has only recently been identified, our Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee have recommended it for funding with a high priority.”

“IgG4-related disease, which can also be known as IgG4-related systemic disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect many organs and body systems, and people with the disease have a wide diverse range of symptoms, signs and severity. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody medicine that helps the body to create an immune response to the disease,” says Dr Hughes.

Rituximab is administered as an intravenous infusion and is not Medsafe approved for use in IgG4-related disease so it would need to be prescribed and used in accordance with section 25 of the Medicines Act 1981.

“We’re seeking feedback from people with IgG4-related disease, rheumatologists, general practitioners, specialist nurses, and other health professionals involved in the care of people with the disease so we can make sure funding this treatment will provide the best outcomes for those affected”.

The consultation is available on the Pharmac website for anyone wanting to have their say. If approved, access to rituximab would be widened from 1 July 2023 subject to eligibility criteria.