Summary of decision: combination treatment for HIV

Update Medicines

Pharmac is funding a new combination treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through a multiproduct agreement with GlaxoSmithKline New Zealand (GSK).

How we've come to this decision

Pharmac has reached an agreement with the supplier, GSK, to fund three treatments and widen access to another treatment and a vaccine. As part of this agreement there are contractual changes to other medicines.

As Pharmac works within a fixed budget, negotiations like these with suppliers help us make more medicines available to more New Zealanders. 

Dolutegravir with lamivudine combination treatment for HIV

The combination treatment, dolutegravir with lamivudine (branded as Dovato), will be funded for people with HIV from 1 May 2024. 

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Once a person is diagnosed with HIV, it stays in their system for life – no cure is available. However, with treatment people with HIV can live long, healthy lives. 

Dovato is a tablet which is a combination of two funded antiretroviral medicines. Antiretrovirals work by stopping the virus replicating in the body, allowing the immune system to repair itself and preventing further damage. However, if treatment is interrupted the virus will return.

We anticipate about 900 people to move to this treatment from other funded options in the first year.

We expect funding a combination tablet to reduce barriers for people to receive treatment for their HIV.

What we will explore in the future

We are aware there are other treatments for HIV that people would like to see funded. We are currently assessing two other combination medicines for this condition. 

We received a funding application for bictegravir with emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide(external link) in 2019. We received clinical advice in 2020 to fund the treatment if it was cost-neutral to other HIV medicines. We have now received more information from the supplier so plan to take the application to the Anti-infective Advisory Committee meeting later in 2024.

Our Anti-infective Advisory Committee recommended funding the application for emtricitabine with tenofovir alafenamide(external link) if it was no more expensive that the funded alternatives containing tenofovir disoproxil. At this time, we are not able to progress this. 

Another medicine we are aware of but have not received an application for is cabotegravir.