Pharmac confirms transition to a trastuzumab biosimilar and widens access for other types of cancer
Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac is transitioning to a trastuzumab biosimilar, Herzuma, from the currently funded brand, Herceptin, as a result of a competitive procurement process. The treatment is currently funded for people with metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer.
“We are pleased this procurement process for trastuzumab has released funds, enabling us to provide more treatment options for New Zealanders,” says Pharmac’s Director, Pharmaceuticals Geraldine MacGibbon.
“By funding Herzuma we are able to widen access to trastuzumab for people with locally advanced or metastatic HER2 positive gastric, gastro-oesophageal junction and oesophageal cancer. Currently there is no targeted treatment for these types of cancer. This will provide 130 people a year with a longer, and better quality of life.”
Pharmac met with members from the cancer community and consumer groups to understand the impact of this change. We heard from individuals living with cancer and their whānau, as well as healthcare professionals who support them.
“We understand some people would like us to widen access to trastuzumab even further. We will continue to assess applications for wider access and will consider the feedback we received through this process in our assessments in the future,” concludes MacGibbon.
Pharmac will now work with the supplier, Celltrion Healthcare, along with the healthcare sector and healthcare professionals, to ensure a smooth transition.
Celltrion’s Commercial Excellence & Market Access Manager, Mirco Meyer, is pleased to bring their first publicly funded treatment to the New Zealand market.
“We are delighted to support people living with cancer through providing this treatment option. Our team is committed to making a positive impact for people living in New Zealand and reducing inequities in health outcomes. Our approach is to work in partnership with all areas of the health sector to help make this happen.”
- Learn more about biological and biosimilar medicines
- Trastuzumab, branded as Herceptin, was first funded in New Zealand for metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer in 2005.
- The new funded biosimilar version of trastuzumab, Herzuma, has been used in New Zealand private hospitals since 2020, in Australia since 2019.
- Media release: Pharmac issues RFP for intravenous trastuzumab, a medicine used to treat breast cancer
- Media release: Pharmac seeks feedback on widening access and transitioning to a biosimilar trastuzumab