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8 March 2002 News Update


Pharmac this week removed the funding cap on beta interferon, allowing more New Zealanders with multiple sclerosis access to the treatment. The change is expected to cost up to an additional $3 million a year.

The decision will initially see a further 50 patients given subsidised beta interferon, with the prospect of more following if they meet the criteria for accessing the drug.

Beta interferon is currently subsidised for 180 patients under a funding cap, with further patients meeting the entry criteria put on a waiting list. The funding cap has now been removed and fully subsidised beta interferon will be available to patients who meet the entry cirteria published in the Pharmaceutical Schedule.

Pharmac chief executive Wayne McNee said the decision followed a recommendation from the expert committee that was set up to consider the subsidised access to the beta interferon waiting list.

The removal of the cap for beta interferon has been made possible through savings in other areas of the pharmaceutical budget.

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