Funded mental health drugs

OIA response

Response to a request for information about funded medicines for mental health.

25 November 2019

[name and contact details redacted]

Dear [name redacted]


Thank you for your request dated 8 November 2019 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to mental health medications.  You asked for

  1. Please list all the drugs approved for mental health treatment that are fully subsidised by Pharmac.
  2. Please list all the drugs approved for mental health treatment that are partially subsidised by Pharmac
  3. Please indicate the cost of non subsidised drugs per weekly cost.
  4. The number of applications you receive from responsible clinicians asking that the prescribed drug is subsidised, not the generic equivalent.
  5. Evaluations undertaken by Pharmac to establish the efficacy of generic substitutes
  6. Who is on the panel of pharmacologists evaluating the efficacy of mental health/neurological drugs?

PHARMAC response

Questions 1 and 2: The list of subsidised mental health medicines can be found in the Pharmaceutical Schedule(external link). Fully funded brands are denoted by being listed in bold type with a tick beside the medicine name, part-funded treatments are also listed, but are unbolded.

Question 3: PHARMAC does not have data on unsubsidised medicines, as the data we collect is only for funded medicines (ie. those listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule).

Question 4: We have interpreted this question as referring to the Named Patient Pharmaceutical Assessment process (NPPA). PHARMAC receives nearly a thousand NPPA applications each year and does not classify these by therapeutic groups.

We will be happy to answer this question if you can supply us with a medicine name (or names) that can be searched.

Question 5: Medsafe is the Government medicines regulatory authority that assesses the efficacy and safety of medicines, including generic medicines and how these compare to original brand medicines.

PHARMAC seeks clinical advice from experts on our advisory committees (including for mental health) about which Medsafe-approved medicines should be funded. The minutes of these various committees are available on the PHARMAC website.

Question 6: The list of members of clinical committees and subcommittees is available on the PHARMAC website. 

We trust that this information answers your queries.  We are making our information more freely available, so we will now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

Yours sincerely

Alison Hill
Director, Engagement and Implementation