Pharmac to fully fund testosterone gel for all who need it

Media release Medicines

Pharmac – Te Pātaka Whaioranga is funding testosterone gel without restrictions as an additional testosterone treatment for anyone who needs it from 1 April 2024.

“We understand there is a wide range of people who will benefit from having open access to this treatment, where other forms of testosterone might not be appropriate,” says Pharmac’s Director Advice and Assessment Dr David Hughes.

Testosterone gel is primarily used as a hormone replacement for people who don’t produce enough testosterone. It is rubbed onto the skin to increase the levels of the hormone in the body.

The gel will now be added to the list of currently funded testosterone products which come in injection, capsule or patch form. 

Simon Mark*, is a regular user of testosterone treatment, “In 2005, when I was living in the UK, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression, due to a significant drop in my testosterone levels. I used TestoGel on a daily basis for more than five years and the positive impact on both my physical and mental health was remarkable in a fairly short space of time.”

“Since this time I’ve returned home to New Zealand and tried the other funded treatment options. I was very pleased to learn that the gel may be funded by Pharmac as I knew it would provide me with a more stable and reliable form of treatment going forward and improve my quality of life.”

Dr Luke Bradford, Medical Director of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, welcomes the addition of another way for people to access treatment with testosterone.

“We’re pleased to see that gel testosterone will be added to the Pharmaceutical Schedule. The fact that a specialist general practitioner will be able to prescribe this to any patient that needs it will really support those with an unmet health need, therefore supporting equitable health outcomes.”

“In General Practice we hear that due to allergic reactions, or fear of needles that the other methods of receiving testosterone treatment aren’t suitable for them. Having the gel presentation available will also allow useful flexibility of dosage.”

This decision follows a competitive procurement process for the supply of non-injectable testosterone through a Request for Proposals (RFP). 

After Pharmac received the proposals from suppliers an evaluation committee considered these and tested the products put forward to test their suitability. Consumers are involved in this process to ensure Pharmac considers the needs of the community.

“We’re grateful for the variety of responses we received to the consultation. Having input from the community and clinicians is a really important part of our decision-making process,” says Dr Hughes.

* name anonymised for privacy