Summary of decision: niraparib for ovarian cancer

Update Medicines

Pharmac is funding niraparib for ovarian cancer 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. 

Niraparib for ovarian cancer

Niraparib (branded as Zejula) will be funded for the maintenance treatment of ovarian cancer from 1 May 2024. People with advanced, high-grade, platinum sensitive ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer will be eligible to receive treatment, if they meet eligibility criteria.

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynaecological cancer in New Zealand after endometrial cancer and people with it experience poor health outcomes. Māori and Pacific people experience worse outcomes than other population groups ovarian cancer.  

We expect about 110 people will benefit from the treatment in the first year of funding. 

Niraparib is used as a maintenance therapy after chemotherapy. It helps to prevent the cancer from returning. Once someone receives niraparib they will not be eligible for it again 

What we heard during the consultation

We heard that people want to be able to continue their treatment with niraparib that they started before it became funded (for example. through supplier compassionate access or private purchase). We’ve changed the criteria to allow this. Anyone accessing niraparib this way must still meet the rest of the criteria. 

We have clarified that niraparib is funded for either first or later line maintenance treatment, but that it cannot be used again if the cancer returns.

We heard that people taking this treatment will require increased monitoring from their treating clinician. We are working with the Cancer Control Agency - Te Aho o Te Kahu to further support this. 

What we will explore in the future

We understand people would like niraparib funded for another type of ovarian cancer called endometrioid carcinoma. We intend to seek advice from our Cancer Treatment Advisory Committee in the future about the evidence for using niraparib for this condition.