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Update: Ocrelizumab for Primary Progressive MS

April 9, 2021 | Advocacy, Life with MS, Treatments

At the November 2020 meeting of PHARMAC’s Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) further information was reviewed to support the application for funding of Ocrelizumab for Primary Progressive MS.

At this meeting PTAC recommended listing with low priority and have requested further advice from the Neurological Subcommittee and the Multiple Sclerosis Treatments Advisory Committee (MSTAC).

MSNZ is pleased to see acknowledgement that there is supporting evidence for the use of Ocrelizumab for those with PPMS and recognising the high unmet health need. However, there is still substantial work to be done to progress the recommendation higher up the priority list.

The minutes have recently been published here (see P10)

See our latest Media Release calling for the funding of Ocrelizumab for PPMS here:


Extract from PTAC November 2020 Minutes referring to the recommendation for ocrelizumab use in PPMS:

  • The Committee recommended that ocrelizumab for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) be listed with a low priority.
  • The Committee made this recommendation based on the high health need of people with PPMS, lack of funded treatment options and modest evidence of benefit of ocrelizumab for this indication, as reported in an extension study.
  • In making this recommendation, the Committee considered that PHARMAC could seek advice from the Neurological Subcommittee and/or Multiple Sclerosis Treatments Advisory Committee (MSTAC) on the following points:
    • Clinically appropriate EDSS scores for Special Authority treatment initiation and renewal criteria;
    • The appropriateness of the 2010 McDonald criteria as part of the entry criteria; and
    • The role of MRI in diagnosis and management of PPMS.
  • The Committee noted it could revisit this recommendation following advice on the above points by the Neurological Subcommittee and/or MSTAC.


MSNZ are also continuing to advocate to PTAC and PHARMAC to review the use of the 2010 McDonald criteria, recommending this be replaced by the internationally accepted 2017 McDonald criteria. Accepting this change will enable earlier access to treatment, improving treatment effectiveness and better long-term health outcomes for patients. Further recommendations and information was reviewed in the February 2021 meeting and we expect to hear more in the next few months.

MSNZ will endeavour to provide updates as these become available.