A ''small but important'' patient group will benefit from
Pharmac's decision to fund a new drug to treat a rare blood
disorder, University of Otago haematologist Dr Jim Faed says.
Pharmac announced at the weekend it would fund Revolade for
people with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
ITP sufferers have low numbers of the blood platelets that
help with clotting. Pharmac director of operations Sarah Fitt
said the drug, also known as eltrombopag, was for people who
had tried other treatments, including spleen removal.
Dr Faed told the Otago Daily Times patients who had
had a splenectomy and still had problems were faced with
taking drugs with unpleasant side effects. Revolade had fewer
unpleasant side effects than the older drugs.
''It will be valuable for a small but important group of
patients and help them to live a more normal life,'' Dr Faed
Pharmac estimated about 40 patients would receive Revolade
per year at a cost, before ''confidential rebates'', of
$36,000 each per year, making it one of the more expensive
treatments on the pharmaceutical schedule.
''While other treatments are currently available, our
clinical advisory committee considered there was a greater
evidence of benefit through using eltrombopag.
''When we look at this clinical impact, the improvement to
patients' quality of life and long-term health outcomes, as
well as a reduction in hospital admissions and its
affordability, this makes a compelling case for funding
eltrombopag,'' Ms Fitt said.