Emgality price increase? Thankfully not

We’ve heard some people taking Emgality have been told by their pharmacists that the price of Emgality is going to increase next year, by as much as double by February 2024. This has been predominantly in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland area.

We contacted the pharmaceutical supplier CDC Pharmaceuticals (CDC) about this. CDC is the sole supplier of Emgality in NZ at the moment, as they have negotiated a special price with Eli Lilly, the drug company that makes Emgality. Other pharmaceutical wholesalers haven’t gone through the process of obtaining this special price from Eli Lilly.

CDC confirmed they hadn’t been notified of any price increase and the same special price was listed on their website. They also contacted Eli Lilly directly to check this and the Supply Chain Manager at Eli Lilly for New Zealand responded that they knew of no plan to change the pricing for Emgality in 2024.

So what’s going on? If your pharmacy is getting Emgality from a pharmaceutical wholesaler that isn’t CDC Pharmaceuticals, then they may well be implementing a price increase. Different pharmacies have different pharmaceutical suppliers. CDC is based in the South Island and is not necessarily the supplier used in Bay of Plenty or Auckland. However, even if your pharmacy usually uses another supplier, it is possible for them to obtain Emgality through CDC. They just have to make contact with CDC (details are on their website. The people at CDC are very happy to talk to any pharmacy about supplying Emgality.

If your pharmacy tells you the price of Emgality is increasing next year, or if you’re starting Emgality and are quoted a price that’s a lot more than the average cost of around $300–325 per dose, then ask some questions. Who are they getting the Emgality from? If it’s not CDC Pharmaceuticals, the price is likely to be a lot higher. Are they willing to contact CDC to get a better price for you? If not, shop around. Find a pharmacy that will give you the best price. Even pharmacies that get their supply from CDC may charge different prices, because they can choose to put a different markup on the wholesale price (e.g. 20% or 30%).

If you get stuck, try asking in our Migraine Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand Facebook support group for recommendations for a pharmacy near you that dispenses Emgality at the lower price. And there is the option of getting it posted out to you from some pharmacies, but it’s a fairly hefty courier charge (around $50) because it has to be delivered via cold storage.

Thanks to those who raised this issue with us – we were pleased to be able to find out what was happening and quickly get some answers. It was frightening to many of us to think that the price might increase so much and we might not be able to afford to continue this medication that has had such a positive effect. But it was also encouraging to hear from people about pharmacists who are supportive and going out of their way to supply Emgality at the best price. There are decent, caring health professionals out there who want to help – if you’re not getting that help, you can find others who will give it to you.