Pharmac seeking bids from suppliers for multiple myeloma treatments

Media release Medicines

Te Pātaka Whaioranga - Pharmac is seeking bids from suppliers for two medicines, lenalidomide and pomalidomide, for use in the treatment of multiple myeloma.

“We understand there is a high unmet health need for people with multiple myeloma,” says Pharmac’s Director Advice and Assessment/Chief Medical Officer, Dr David Hughes. “As part of Pharmac’s role to improve the health outcomes for New Zealanders, we are using this competitive process with the aim to increase access to these treatments.”

Lenalidomide is currently funded for people with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and as maintenance therapy following first-line autologous stem cell transplant. Funding for these people will continue regardless of the outcome of this process. Pomalidomide is not currently funded.

“As part of this Request for Proposals, in addition to seeking to secure future supply of lenalidomide for the currently funded group, we are asking suppliers to submit bids that could result in one or both of the following new funding scenarios:

  • funding wider access to lenalidomide, for people with previously untreated multiple myeloma
  • funding of pomalidomide for people with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma”

“There is no certainty that greater access to lenalidomide, or funding of pomalidomide, would be achieved as a result of this process, as this would depend on the bids received and the amount of available funding. However, we are seeking bids to determine if this would be possible.”

A Request for Proposals (RFP) is a competitive process that allows multiple suppliers to submit proposals for particular products or services (including details such as product brand and pricing). As a government agency, Pharmac is required to run a fair, open and transparent procurement process.

“We appreciate that New Zealand consumers, clinicians, and patient advocacy groups have high expectations about having timely access to new medicines for cancer conditions.”

“Myeloma New Zealand is very pleased Pharmac is looking to widen the medicines available to myeloma patients,” says Chair of Myeloma New Zealand Barbara Horne. “Both lenalidomide and pomalidomide are important medicines in the treatment of myeloma, so there will be many patients, along with the people who care about them, keeping their fingers crossed that the RFP has a successful outcome.”

“Our team will be working closely with the multiple myeloma community and the health sector throughout this process and will share more information with the wider public on our website as it becomes available,” concludes Dr Hughes.

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Outside of this RFP, Pharmac is considering two further treatments for multiple myeloma, carfilzomib and daratumumab. Both medicines have received positive funding recommendations from the Cancer Treatments Advisory Committee and are ranked on the options for investment list(external link) which means they are items Pharmac would like to fund when there is budget available.

The outcome of this procurement process for lenalidomide and pomalidomide would not prohibit funding of other treatments for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Daratumumab and carfilzomib are not being considered as part of this competitive procurement process because there is only one supplier of each of these treatments. This means we need to negotiate directly with the suppliers, and we remain open to continuing to talk with the the suppliers about their applications.