Pharmac seeking bids from suppliers to fund another type of hormone replacement therapy


Pharmac seeking bids from suppliers to fund another type of hormone replacement therapy

Media release from Pharmac
1 minute to Read
Unfiltered 2021

Pharmac – Te Pātaka Whaioranga has issued a request for proposals (RFP) asking suppliers to bid for the supply of oestradiol gel in New Zealand.

“Pharmac is looking to fund a new type of oestradiol treatment without restrictions,” says Dr David Hughes, Pharmac’s Director Advice and Assessment/Chief Medical Officer.

In the past three years, the supply issues for oestradiol patches has caused stress and frustration for New Zealanders. Demand has more than doubled - growing from 1.2 million patches dispensed in 2020/21 to over 3 million patches in 2022/23.

“Our clinical advisors have told us that funding another oestradiol product would be useful because demand is increasing, and we are continuing to experience global supply issues for oestradiol patches. We know that some people would use the gel if it’s funded, and this could relieve some of the stress on the supply of patches.

Oestradiol is used by 85,000 people each year for the treatment of a range of conditions including, menopause, osteoporosis, and gender affirming health care. It is most often used as a patch placed on the skin, but it is also available as a tablet.

“We want to make sure people get the treatment they need, and which can be funded from Pharmac’s fixed budget, so we’re keen to hear from suppliers about what they can offer,” says Dr Hughes.

Dr Linda Dear, a menopause specialist says, “It’s wonderful to hear that another step is being taken towards giving perimenopausal and menopausal New Zealanders fully funded access to oestradiol (estrogen) gels.”

“This will provide a much-needed alternative, so people are no longer solely reliant on the patches as the only funded transdermal option available. Having gels as an alternative will ease the pressure of the supply issue which has had an impact on New Zealanders using the treatments, pharmacists, and prescribing doctors alike. My hope is that we don’t have to wait too much longer to access this important therapy.”

“Pharmac’s job is to assess and prioritise which treatments will deliver the best possible health outcomes for New Zealanders from the available budget,” says Dr Hughes.

"Once this RFP closes, an evaluation committee will meet to consider the bids received. We will also seek advice from our clinical advisors. As this activity progresses, we’ll share more information with the public.”