Bristol-Myers Squibb Withdraws Lipostat From New Zealand
Bristol-Myers Squibb is withdrawing its cholesterol-lowering therapy LIPOSTAT® (pravastatin) from New Zealand, Managing Director, Australia/New Zealand, Mr John Kilborn, announced today.
Mr Kilborn said that the Company would work with the medical profession to minimise the effect on patients of the withdrawal.
He stressed that the decision was not related to the safety or efficacy of Lipostat, which had been proven in extensive clinical trials in New Zealand and other countries to be a safe and effective therapy.
“This has been an extremely difficult business decision forced upon the Company by pricing issues. Unfortunately we have reached a point where Lipostat is no longer commercially viable in New Zealand,” he said.
Mr Kilborn said that the policies of the New Zealand pharmaceutical pricing authority, PHARMAC, had precipitated the withdrawal.
“Having funded the LIPID study in New Zealand at a cost of many millions of dollars, it is extremely disappointing that BMS has been unable to achieve any commercial return on this research,” he said.
“It is also ironic that regulatory authorities around the world have acknowledged the unique data in support of pravastatin. As recently as last month, the Australian reimbursement authority confirmed that there are clear differences between statins.
“The argument of ‘class effect’ to justify New Zealand-style reference pricing has been seriously called into question by the recently global withdrawal of cerivastatin. This is just another example that evidence-based outcomes for one agent cannot be assumed for another.”
Mr Kilborn said that the end result of PHARMAC’s policies was a reduction in the number of proven therapeutic agents available to doctors. In the case of Lipostat, doctors will no longer have the option of prescribing the world’s most well-researched statin therapy.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has expressed its concerns in the past about the effects of PHARMAC policies on health outcomes, as well as their role in the diminution of medical research and industry activity in New Zealand. These policies led to the Company’s current policy of not conducting clinical research in New Zealand.
“As an organisation committed to extending and enhancing life, Bristol-Myers Squibb is disappointed that it has to withdraw from New Zelaland a therapy that is one of the most well-researched medicines available,” Mr Kilborn said.