7 September 2021

Arthritis New Zealand is very concerned at this announcement and is already receiving feedback from people with arthritis who are upset with the impending need to change medications following the decision by Roche.

“We will be liaising with Pharmac to advocate that accessing alternative medications be an urgent priority for them,” commented Arthritis New Zealand CEO Philip Kearney.

Dr Nicola Dalbeth, President of the New Zealand Rheumatology Association, is equally concerned. “This is a very difficult situation for patients with severe rheumatic diseases who depend on tocilizumab for their health. Often tocilizumab is used when other funded options are not effective. We are trying to switch to other medications for our patients where possible, and are waiting to hear from Pharmac about what alternative medications will become available,” commented Dr Dalbeth.


Arthritis New Zealand aims to improve the life of every person affected by arthritis. We are a national not-for-profit organisation focused on raising awareness, advocating for those with arthritis and providing advice and support. For more information, phone the helpline 0800 663 463, find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn or visit


Media Enquiries

Please contact our communications specialist Joanne Taylor for all media queries.

Phone: 09 523 8903  Mobile: 027 226 6625

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