Pharmac proposes to decline zolmitriptan after 17 years of waiting


Jump back to 2007. More than fifteen years ago, in 1991, sumatriptan was launched, the first acute medication specifically designed to treat migraine attacks by targeting a serotonin receptor found in blood vessels in the brain. It was described as miraculous. In half of patients, sumatriptan aborted attacks and reduced pain in 70%. Pain, nausea, […]

Neurological Advisory Committee meeting presentation

“The stories were heartbreaking” That was the comment from Dr Brian Anderson, Chair of Pharmac’s Neurological Advisory Committee, when speaking about the collection of stories we gave to Pharmac and the Committee about people’s experiences of living with migraine in Aotearoa New Zealand. These stories made an impression. No one can deny the reality of […]

What the Women’s Health Strategy means for people with migraine in Aotearoa

In July 2023, the Ministry of Health launched six new health strategies, the Pae Ora | Healthy Futures Strategies, as mandated by new legislation (the Pae Ora Act) that underpinned the restructuring of the health system. All of these strategies are important and set the direction for health services for the next decade. Three strategies […]

Lack of medicine access contributing to health workforce shortage

Despite the hedging of various Ministers of Health, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that our healthcare workforce is in crisis. People are waiting weeks to see a GP. Between 2019 and 2022, 28% of general practices had fully closed their books. This was due to factors such as staff shortages, workload and burnout. According to […]

New migraine questions in the next New Zealand Health Survey

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A year ago in June 2022, Migraine Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand applied to the Ministry of Health to add questions about migraine to the New Zealand Health Survey, a national survey of over 13,000 adults. This month we received the positive news that questions we asked for have been included in the 2023/24 survey, and will […]

New reports again highlight poor access to modern medicines in New Zealand

new reports again highlight poor access to modern medicines in new zealand

Photo credit: Front cover, New Zealand’s Medicines Landscape 2022/23, Medicines NZ New Zealand, once again, is at the back of the pack for funding new medications. Last month, Medicines New Zealand released its latest report: New Zealand’s Medicines Landscape 2022/23. This annual report provides a summary of facts about the medicine inequity we face in […]

Why the Minister of Health’s recent comments sting

why the minister of healths recent comments sting

On May 7 2023, The New Zealand Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall, was interviewed by Jake Tame for TVNZ’s Q + A to discuss the government’s plan to protect the health system over winter and the general state of the health system. Near the end of the interview, Dr Verrall was asked about Pharmac’s […]

Celebrating our first birthday

celebrating our first birthday

Migraine Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand is one year old. And in compliance with the advice that people with migraine receive to moderate their lifestyles, instead of clinking champagne and chowing into cake, we’re taking a moment to catch our breath and meditate on the happy moments over the past year. It felt like a slow […]

It’s our first birthday, but you get the presents

its our first birthday but you get the presents

We are one! This time one year ago, Migraine Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand was officially launched. To celebrate our first birthday, we’re giving away five copies of Dr Katy Munro’s book Managing Your Migraine. We think this book is already a migraine literature classic (check out our review of it here). Now we’ve been incorporated […]

A positive response from Pharmac

a positive response from pharmac

On 20 January 2023, we sent Pharmac a letter, signed by all four of New Zealand’s headache specialists, raising concerns about its slow handling of the funding application for erenumab (Aimovig), the (in)appropriateness of their review process and how this would affect the application we made in November 2022, for the funding of galcanezumab (Emgality). […]