Sunitinib information

Thank you for your request dated 9 August 2023 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to Sunitinib. You requested:

This request relates to data about Sunitinib (Sutent), a drug funded by Pharmac for use to treat metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC).

The information I request is:

  1. How many patients in total, in New Zealand currently, and in each of the preceding five years, are being provided with Sunitinib through Pharmac for treatment of metastatic ccRCC?
  2. Without disclosing actual pricing, is the price that Pharmac pays for Sunitinib comparable to the price it has most recently been offered for the purchase of Axitinib (Inlyta)? If not, what is the magnitude of the difference in pricing?

We are pleased to provide you the information you requested for question one in the table below. Please note that sunitinib is funded for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) under Special Authority criteria(external link). This requires metastatic disease and a predominant clear cell histology, among other criteria.

Financial Year Total Patients
2018/19 99
2019/20 111
2020/21 116
2021/22 112
2022/23 104

Note: Distinct patients are measured per year, if a patient receives treatment across 2 different years they will be counted twice.

We have decided to decline your request in question 2 for information which relates to price of Axitinib under sections 9(2)(b)(ii), 9(2)(ba)(i), and 9(2)(j) of the Official Information Act.

We can, however, disclose that sunitinib has no rebate. The public list price is the full amount paid for the medicine.

The sections of the OIA mentioned above:

  • allow us to protect information where the making available of the information would be likely to unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information (section 9(2)(b)(ii));
  • allow us to protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence or which any person has been or could be compelled to provide under the authority of any enactment, where the making available of the information would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information, or information from the same source, and it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied (section 9(2)(ba)(i));
  • enable Pharmac to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations, including commercial negotiations (section 9(2)(j)).

We trust that this information answers your queries. Please note, you have the right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman about our response to your OIA, under section 28(3) of the OIA. Details of how to make a complaint(external link) are on the Ombudsman’s website.

To make information more freely available, we publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.