The Therapeutic Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was convened by the MOH in August 2021 to provide expert advice on existing and emerging medicines for use in the management of COVID-19.
Pharmac has listed Paxlovid and Lagevrio on the pharmaceutical schedule and it has published the access criteria, which will apply to both medicines, on its website. Prescriptions must be endorsed by the prescriber confirming that the patient meets the access criteria. Access criteria for antivirals has been widened
Prescribers should document on the e-prescription notes the latest GFR if available. If unavailable, the prescriber should weigh up risks and benefits of Paxlovid for that patient. The prescription should be endorsed before it is sent to the pharmacy that dispenses Paxlovid. Note: only a small number of pharmacies stock Paxlovid and these are listed in HealthPathways. The pharmacy will deliver the medication to the patient.
Information and guidance has been developed by the MOH for health practitioners to aide in the prescription of Paxlovid.
He Ako Hiringa has useful drug interaction checking references on their website.
Molnupiravir (Lagevrio) is available to those at a higher risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19 including elderly, immunocompromised people and those with complex health needs.
The position statement (linked below) on inhaled budesonide was updated on 1 April 2022. Changes from the previous position statement are in red text.
The amendment narrows the recommended eligible population for inhaled budesonide to target those who are at highest risk of progression to requiring in-hospital treatment for COVID-19 disease. The document now also includes guidance for navigating challenges with turbuhaler use in certain communities.
Pharmac has negotiated an agreement with AstraZeneca for its pre-exposure prophylactic COVID-19 treatment which would be targeted to New Zealanders at a high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
Tixagevimab with cilgavimab (supplied under the brand name Evusheld) is Pharmac’s fourth advance purchase agreement for a COVID-19 treatment, and its first for a pre-exposure prophylactic treatment.
The pre-exposure prophylactic treatment includes two intramuscular injections – one of tixagevimab and one of cilgavimab – which are given to the person before they have been exposed to COVID-19. The treatment will help those who are immunocompromised and at risk of an inadequate immune response to the COVID-19 vaccination or infection.
Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19 but it does provide an option for the small group of people who are not able to be vaccinated. Its use in New Zealand is subject to Medsafe approval.