Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac is consulting on a proposal to fund testosterone gel without restrictions as an additional testosterone treatment for those who need it.
Testosterone gel is used as a hormone replacement for men who can’t produce enough testosterone, or for gender affirming hormone therapy. It is rubbed onto the skin to lift levels of the hormone in the body.
This proposal is a result of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the supply of non-injectable testosterone. The aim of this was to secure an appropriate range of non-injectable testosterone presentation forms, to ensure there is sufficient variety to meet the health needs of patients.
“We’d really like to hear from people currently using testosterone products like capsules, patches or injections who may wish to use a gel instead, to understand what resources would be useful to support them transition to a gel product,” says Pharmac’s Director Pharmaceuticals, Geraldine MacGibbon.
“We know that some people experience suitability issues with the transdermal patches or injections, so we’re really pleased to be able to look at funding this alternative” says MacGibbon. “Our clinical advisors have also told us funding the gel will mean more people can access testosterone treatment.”
“We’re also keen to hear from health care professionals about what support they might need when prescribing the gel and also to make sure anyone who needs it can access it, particularly Māori, Pacific peoples and those using testosterone gel as part of gender affirming hormone therapy.”
“We know there is a high health need for patients with primary or secondary hypogonadal disorder – which is where the gonads don’t make enough testosterone. In adults this can have a big impact on their quality of life, causing fatigue, loss of body hair, muscle wastage and in some cases, osteoporosis and anaemia,” says MacGibbon.
Under the proposal, testosterone gel would be added to the list of currently funded testosterone products which come in injection, capsule or patch form. The gel is self-administered by rubbing it onto the skin – usually over both shoulders, both arms, or the abdomen.
The consultation is available on the Pharmac website for anyone wanting to have their say. If approved, the open access listing for gel testosterone would be available from 1 July 2024.