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PHARMAC opens consultation to address New Zealand’s biggest health issue1

Proposal to list type 2 diabetes medicine Jardiance®

Boehringer Ingelheim New Zealand welcomes a major PHARMAC proposal2 which could see up to 50,000 New Zealanders with type 2 diabetes and high risk of heart and kidney complications receive funded access to a medicine that not only lowers blood sugar, but also reduces the risk of dying from heart complications.3,4


Under the new proposal, from 1 December 2020, Jardiance (empagliflozin) would become the first and only oral diabetes medicine on New Zealand’s Pharmaceutical Schedule2 proven to deliver a benefit beyond blood glucose-lowering in people with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular (heart and stroke) disease.3,4


“Boehringer Ingelheim is pleased to support the work of PHARMAC to improve the health of New Zealanders living with type 2 diabetes, and is committed to investing in the education of healthcare professionals and patients in this area, in particular with regard to this exciting new class of medication, the SGLT-2 inhibitor,” said Boehringer Ingelheim New Zealand Business Unit Manager, Tony Davison.


“It will be important to ensure the medicine can be accessed by people with the highest need, notably Māori, Pacific and South Asian populations, so we are encouraged that PHARMAC will seek clinical advice on whether equity of access could be improved over time, and we look forward to working with the agency and diabetes community to support this,” Mr Davison added.


Under the proposal, Jardiance® and Jardiamet® (empagliflozin and metformin combination) would be the sole subsidised brands of a SGLT-2 inhibitor for the treatment of eligible type 2 diabetes patients until at least 30 June 2024. This may be extended by mutual consent until 30 June 2025 and/or 30 June 2026.2


Jardiance (with and without metformin) would be listed in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule under a Special Authority to treat patients with type 2 diabetes and high risk of heart and kidney complications.2


Landmark international research including New Zealand centres revealed that the addition of Jardiance to standard therapy reduced the risk of cardiovascular death or being hospitalised due to heart failure by more than 30% in people with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease. In these patients, the addition of Jardiance also reduced the risk of new or worsening kidney disease.4


According to diabetes specialist, Dr Brandon Orr-Walker, Clinical Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Middlemore Hospital, diabetes is the public health issue of our time. He points to the inextricable link between type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.


“Type 2 diabetes and heart disease go hand-in-hand in New Zealand. Together they claim more lives each year than any other condition.”1



“It is an exciting prospect that we will soon be in a position to further help New Zealand patients with type 2 diabetes and high risk of cardiovascular and renal disease, through access to modern diabetes medicines,” Dr Orr-Walker said.


“There has been strong clinician calls for access for New Zealanders to this class of medication for five years, so specialists in this field, not only diabetologists but also kidney and heart specialists as well as our GP colleagues, will be delighted” he said.


“This treatment is a great option for treatment in community settings, adding to what therapy we have.


“In New Zealand, clinicians will now be able to manage risk in their patients with diabetes along internationally recognised treatment guidelines,” Dr Orr-Walker concluded.


An estimated 250,000 New Zealanders are living with type 2 diabetes and PHARMAC estimate that up to 50,000 people with type 2 diabetes also have established cardiovascular disease or long-term kidney disease.2


Among Māori and Pacific Island populations, rates of diabetes are around three times higher than for other New Zealanders. Prevalence is also high among South Asian populations.5 Māori are also five times more likely to die prematurely from diabetes than other New Zealanders.6


PHARMAC is accepting feedback on the proposed funding of the new diabetes therapies until Friday, 2 October 2020. This feedback will be considered by the Board prior to a funding decision.


About Jardiance®

Jardiance® is indicated for the management of glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, as well as the reduction of cardiovascular death in patients with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease.3


It belongs to a class of diabetes medicines known as sodium-glucose transport protein 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. The starting dose of Jardiance® is 10mg taken as an oral tablet once daily with or without food.3


All medications have benefits and risks. Jardiance® is associated with a low risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), but the risk is increased when used in combination with a sulfonylurea or insulin. Jardiance is also associated with other side effects like diabetic ketoacidosis, and an increase in genital and urinary tract infections. The therapy should not be used in patients with severe kidney disease, or in patients with type 1 diabetes.3


Issued on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim New Zealand.

Media contact: Peter Boyes, Boyes Public Relations – 0275 540 500



Product Information and Consumer Medicine Information can be obtained from  https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/index.asp


A copy of the PHARMAC Consultation Document can be found online at  https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/news/consultations



1.   NZ Ministry for Health. Diabetes. Available at: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/diabetes Accessed 2/9/20.

2.   PHARMAC. Proposal to fund two new medicines for type 2 diabetes. 8 September 2020

3.   JARDIANCE®  NZ Data Sheet 2020. Available at: https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Profs/Datasheet/datasheet.htm

4.   Zinman B. et al. Empagliflozin, Cardiovascular Outcomes, and Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes, NEJM 2015 373:2117-28.

5.   PHARMAC. Request for Proposals – Supply of Diabetes Agents: SGLT-2 Inhibitors, GLP-1 Agonists and DPP-4 Inhibitors. January 2020.

6.   Ministry of Health. Mortality and Demographic Data. Available at: https://www.health.govt.nz/nz-health-statistics/health-statistics-and-data-sets/mortality-data-and-stats