Pharmac seeking feedback on the COVID-19 antiviral molnupiravir
Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac are consulting on the role of molnupiravir in New Zealand’s portfolio of COVID-19 treatments. The consultation seeks feedback on whether Pharmac should stop funding the treatment or adjust the eligibility criteria for people who may still be expected to benefit from treatment.
“It is important we review the ongoing role of antivirals and make decisions based on advice and evidence,” says Pharmac’s Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes. “The COVID-19 environment has changed since molnupiravir became available in May 2022. We need to make sure it could still provide meaningful benefits for eligible New Zealanders.”
“We are aware there is evolving evidence that suggests that molnupiravir may no longer be as effective compared to what we knew when molnupiravir was first purchased, and guidelines published recently have recommended that molnupiravir is no longer used. However, we are keen to understand if there are populations who may benefit from having the treatment available, where other options are not appropriate.”
“Consulting on any changes in access to treatments is a usual part of Pharmac process. This is an opportunity for New Zealanders to tell us what they think and for us to consider all information and perspectives,”
Pharmac has received clinical advice from the COVID-19 Treatments Advisory Group and from primary care clinicians on Pharmac’s Specialist Advisory Committees. The position of the Manatū Hauora COVID-19 Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group and evidence in the PANORAMIC trial will also be considered.
“Since the pandemic began, we purchased a range of products with limited amounts of evidence to make sure New Zealanders could get treatments to protect against severe illness. We will continue to seek updated clinical advice from our expert advisory network on all treatments.” concludes Dr Hughes.
Molnupiravir is still available in the community at pharmacies and from Te Whatu Ora hospitals subject to eligibility criteria. Following the consultation period Pharmac will consider the feedback and expect to make a decision on the use of molnupiravir for June 2023.
Consultation closes at 5 pm on Tuesday, 2 May 2023 and feedback can be emailed to email@example.com.
You can read all about the available COVID-19 treatments on our website.