Emgality supply issue – NZ shouldn’t be affected

This week we received emails from the Australian and New Zealand Headache Society and Migraine and Headache Australia that galcanezumab (Emgality) was out of stock until 1 April 2024 due to a global supply shortage.

Greatly perturbed, we contacted CDC Pharmaceuticals who have the sole supply of Emgality in NZ. They hadn’t received any notification about a supply issue but they contacted Eli Lilly, the drug company that makes Emgality. This is the response from Eli Lilly:

‘There is a pending supply issue on Emgality, however we expect no impact to NZ market, as we transferred stock to get NZ through to when we will receive fresh stock.’

This is a relief, as unlike in other countries that may be affected by an Emgality shortage, we don’t have many other options. In Australia, people can switch to one of two other monoclonal antibody treatments – fremanezumab (Ajovy) or eptinezumab (Vyepti). These, and Emgality, are funded in Australia. However, neither of these alternatives are available in New Zealand.

The only other alternative in NZ is erenumab (Aimovig) but this is only available from Grafton Pharmacy in Auckland at over twice the cost of Emgality ($678 per dose plus $50 courier fee for those not in Auckland).

Hopefully, those of us on Emgality in NZ will not be affected by the global shortage. We know from other countries that force people to take treatment breaks that their effectiveness tends to wear off over weeks to months, so having an unplanned pause is not ideal. Stopping Emgality for more than a couple of months also means you may need to take the double injection loading dose again.

If you’re on Emgality and have any concerns, talk to your pharmacist about making sure they have stock at hand for when you need it.

Information correct as at 7 December 2023.