Clinical advisors recommend continuing funding food thickeners in the community

Update Medicines

Food thickeners remain available

Anyone who meets current funding criteria can access food thickeners. 

While we had proposed limiting access to existing patients only. No changes have been made to the Schedule. 

Pharmac is considering the funding of food thickeners in the community for people who have motor neurone disease with a swallowing disorder. In February 2023 we published a public consultation on a proposal to delist the food thickeners from the community.

Today we are sharing the meeting records from the Pharmac’s Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) meeting in August 2023 where they discussed food thickeners.

At the meeting the Committee discussed the use of food thickeners in the community and the feedback received, in response to the consultation. The Committee considered evidence for use of food thickeners in the community and feedback from the people using them.

The Committee recommended food thickeners remain funded in the community for the current eligible population.

It also considered  that further work should be undertaken to identify other population groups who may have a similar health need to the current eligible population to determine whether access should be widened to include these groups.

Pharmac is now considering these recommendations and intends to undertake further work and share a notification about a decision to resolve the 22 February 2023 consultation in 2024.

We understand that this process and any outcome would have  a significant impact on people, which is why we have taken the time and are seeking all relevant perspectives before making any changes.

We will continue to share more information as it is available