Public funding of Trikafta

OIA response

Request for information into why Trikafta isn’t currently funded.

16 November 2020

Dear [name and contact details withheld]


Thank you for your request dated 21 October 2020 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to funding of Trikafta. You wrote:

I would like to know why Trikafta isn’t publicly funded for kids with Cystic Fibrosis when it ultimately enhances both quality and quantity of life.

I believe the drug is manufactured by Vertex Pharmaceutical and that you need a request from them to fund the drug, please correct me if I am wrong.

Medsafe is the authority responsible for the regulation of therapeutic products in New Zealand. A supplier needs Medsafe’s approval to distribute its medicines in New Zealand and the supplier is responsible for initiating the approval process. Getting approval from Medsafe is the first step to a medicine becoming available in New Zealand, before it can be considered by PHARMAC for funding. Medsafe’s evaluation and approval process is detailed on their website: link) > Medicines > Approval Process > Medsafe's Evaluation and Approval Process(external link).

Trikafta has not yet been registered with Medsafe for distribution in New Zealand, although we are aware that the supplier of Trikafta (Vertex) has signaled their intention to make an application to Medsafe. Additionally, PHARMAC has not yet received a funding application for Trikafta.

Anyone can make a funding application to PHARMAC via our funding application portal PHARMConnect. You can be a supplier, patient or healthcare professional. However, applications are usually submitted by suppliers as they are able to provide the full range of information and details required for PHARMAC to be able to assess a funding application. Our website has more information about how to make a funding application(external link).

PHARMAC’s Application Tracker is publicly available and can be used to track the status of all funding applications we have received. The Application Tracker is available via our website: link) > Application Tracker(external link) or by typing the following URL into your internet browser’s address bar: link)

One of the active ingredients in Trikafta, ivacaftor, is a single therapy option (branded as Kalydeco) that has been funded by PHARMAC from 1 March 2020 for people with a specific type of cystic fibrosis. The notification of the decision to fund ivacaftor (Kalydeco) for people with cystic fibrosis with the G551D mutation(external link) is available on our 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 

Rachel Read
Manager, Policy and Government Services