Funding for new drug to treat rare bleeding condition

Media release Medicines

PHARMAC has agreed to fund a new drug to treat a rare and potentially fatal blood disorder.

People with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) have low numbers of the blood platelets that help with clotting. Without treatment, people with ITP are at risk of severe bleeding.

Eltrombopag (Revolade) can increase platelet counts and reduce the bleeding risk.

PHARMAC Director of Operations Sarah Fitt says funding for eltrombopag will be targeted to people who have already tried other available treatments, including splenectomy (spleen removal), and require a further treatment option.

“The funding for eltrombopag will be for people with more severe cases of ITP,” says Sarah Fitt.

“While other treatments are currently available, our clinical advisory committee considered there was a greater evidence of benefit through using eltrombopag. When we look at this clinical impact, the improvement to patients’ quality of life and long-term health outcomes, as well as a reduction in hospital admissions and its affordability, this makes a compelling case for funding eltrombopag.”

PHARMAC estimates that about 40 patients will receive funded eltrombopag per year at a cost, before confidential rebates, of $36,000 per patient per year, making it one of the more expensive treatments to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule.

Funding will begin from 1 January 2014.