Pharmac to fund for a rare disease medicine called Icatibant (Firazyr), which treats a potentially life-threatening blood condition Hereditary Angioedema (HAE).
The genetic condition causes episodes of swelling that can be life-threatening, and there were up to 90 patients with the condition in New Zealand.
AdvertisementIn 2014 Pharmac identified up to $25 million available over five years, and sought proposals from companies supplying medicines for rare disorders. It is the first medicine it will fund under its new competitive process.
Chief executive Steffan Crausaz said Pharmac had received proposals for 28 medicines, many previously not seen in New Zealand before.
"We're intending this to be the first of several medicines that will be affordable within the $25 million we have identified as available for rare disorders medicines. This is a great outcome for people with hereditary angioedema, and we're confident of more agreements being reached for other rare disorders in the near future."
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman welcomed Pharmac's decision, and said it would mean HAE patients could get treatment closer to home as the medicine could be self administered.
"Currently people with the condition have to go to hospital if they have a swelling attack. With an injection they can take themselves, sufferers of this disorder will be able to live a more normal life. I look forward to more negotiations being concluded by Pharmac over the next few months so that New Zealanders can gain benefits from these medicines," he said.