New Zealand announces funding for adalimumab biosimilar

Biosimilares/Novedades | Posted 17/12/2021 post-comment0 Post your comment

New Zealand has announced that, in order to widen access to adalimumab, it will now fund the adalimumab biosimilar Amgevita.

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New Zealand’s pharmaceutical management agency, Pharmac, announced on 17 November 2021 that it had made the decision to fund the adalimumab biosimilar Amgevita, improving access to adalimumab for New Zealanders.

Adalimumab is used to treat a range of rheumatology, gastrointestinal, dermatological, and other autoimmune conditions. Around 6,400 kiwis have this injection, often fortnightly.

The originator adalimumab, AbbVie’s Humira, is the current brand of adalimumab, being used in the country and has been listed since 2006. However, due to the high cost to New Zealand’s healthcare budget, Pharmac started a consultation on a possible cheaper alternative. Of all the medicines funded in New Zealand, Humira is the second biggest spend for the Pharmac budget. The adalimumab biosimilar Amgevita is being used in 40 countries and has been approved by MedSafe as a safe and effective medicine [1].

The funding change comes as a result of Pharmac’s request for feedback from stakeholders on its proposal to make changes to the funded brand of adalimumab, from the originator (Humira) to the adalimumab biosimilar (Amgevita) from 1 March 2022 through a provisional agreement with Amgen.

The decision means that from 1 March 2022 Principal Supply Status will be awarded to Amgevita, a move that Pharmac says will widen access to this treatment for a number of gastrointestinal conditions, including Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, associated arthritis and ulcerative colitis, as well as for rheumatoid arthritis, Behçet’s disease and ocular inflammation.

The funding change means that:
• All people who start on adalimumab treatment after 1 March 2022 will receive Amgevita.
• People receiving treatment with adalimumab prior to 1 March 2022 will need to transition to Amgevita before 30 September 2022.
• Humira will remain available for people who meet certain funding criteria to move back to or remain on Humira, with access via a new Special Authority application.

Pharmac states that more people will be able to access Amgevita once it is funded, and existing patients will also be able to access higher doses of treatment if they move to Amgevita.

Pharmac’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr David Hughes adds that ‘this is the Pharmac model in action. Competing markets, forecasting and moving to a biosimilar medicine stretches New Zealand’s medicine budget further and means we can fund more medicines for more Kiwis’.

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars approved in New Zealand []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2021 Dec 17]. Available from:

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Source: Pharmac

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