Summary of consultation to widen access to cancer medicines and treatments to prevent fungal infections

Update Medicines

Pharmac is proposing to widen access to two medicines for cancer and two medicines for prevention of fungal infections in people with weakened immune systems, subject to eligibility criteria. The medicines are:

  • pembrolizumab (branded as Keytruda) 
  • nivolumab (branded as Opdivo) 
  • posaconazole (branded as Posaconazole Juno and Devatis)
  • voriconazole (branded as Vttack and Vfend)

The consultation is open and will close on Friday 26 July at 4pm. You can provide feedback by emailing 

What are the medicines?

Pembrolizumab and nivolumab for cancer

These targeted cancer medicines called immunotherapies (immune checkpoint inhibitors), work by helping the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. They are administered as intravenous infusions in hospitals.

Pembrolizumab is currently funded for metastatic melanoma and advanced non small cell lung cancer and nivolumab is currently funded for metastatic melanoma.

Posaconazole and voriconazole for the prevention of fungal infections

These medicines stop the growth of fungal infections and can be given as a preventative treatment. They are taken as daily tablets.

Posaconazole is currently funded for people with leukaemia or people due to receive a stem cell transplant. Voriconazole is currently funded for people who are immunocompromised or have specific infections.

What are the medicines for?

When would the medicines be available?

If the proposal is approved:

  • From 1 October 2024 – widened access to pembrolizumab, posaconazole, and voriconazole.
  • From 1 November 2024 – widened access to nivolumab.

How will Pharmac fund this?

This funding proposal is part of a package of additional funded allocated by the Government in June 2024. The funding boost enables Pharmac to fund a number of new medicines and to widen access to medicines that are already funded for both cancer and non-cancer health conditions.