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Major announcement: Pharmac Initiates Consultation to fund Ocrelizumab for Primary Progressive MS.

June 22, 2023 | Advocacy, Funding, Media, Progressive

Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand (MSNZ) is delighted to share that Pharmac have commenced consultation to fund Ocrelizumab for Primary Progressive MS. Currently, those with PPMS have no access to any disease modifying therapies. Ocrelizumab has been proven in trials to delay time to wheelchair by 7 years allowing people to continue working, supporting their families and whānau, and living well.

The criteria under consultation is for those with:

  • a diagnosis of PPMS which meets the McDonald 2017 criteria and confirmed by a NZ Neurologist
  • EDSS 2 – 6.5 inclusive
  • no history of relapsing remitting MS
  • Special Authority will require an annual review which will require an EDSS of 2 – 6.5 inclusive within the 6 months prior to the renewal date.

Following consultation, if approved, access would be funded from 1 October 2023.

MSNZ acknowledges the potential concerns regarding access to specialist services, which are currently under review. We are committed to ensuring that everyone who may benefit from this treatment are well-informed.

This is an extraordinary milestone in the management of the most disabling form of MS, emphasising the importance of long term brain health outcomes. While Ocrelizumab is available in 26 other countries, New Zealand will be the first in the Asia-Pacific region and one of only four English speaking countries with funded access. The UK, Ireland and Canada have national reimbursement arrangements.

If Ocrelizumab is approved for funding, it will serve as a beacon of hope that many individuals have been desperately seeking in their treatment journey.

We encourage you to share your personal story, as we firmly believe the voice of those with lived experiences holds immense power. Let Pharmac know the profound impact this change will have on you, your family and whānau. You can either:

  • Submit your story and message to Pharmac through Multiple Sclerosis NZ to be shared in the testimonials section of our submission by 6th July 2023 to
  • Send your submission directly to Pharmac by 5pm on 7th July 2023 to:

Read the full consultation here: Proposal to widen access to medicines for haemophilia A and multiple sclerosis – Pharmac | New Zealand Government

Read the announcement on the Pharmac website here.

UPDATE: It is great to see people’s stories come through, to be included in our submission. These stories really do drive it home just how impactful access to Ocrelizumab can be. Please submit your story or message to Pharmac by 6th July 2023 to