Press release

New faster, cost effective treatment for iron deficiency anaemia now available in New Zealand

Wednesday, 30 July 2014, ↓ directly to download

Patients and healthcare professionals will benefit from greater access to an innovative intravenous iron preparation that is cost effective and substantially faster to administer, with the listing of Ferinject® (ferric carboxymaltose) on the Hospital Medicines List for use in DHB Hospitals.

Ferinject®, which can be given within just 15 minutes, will be listed from 1 August.

The new intravenous treatment is used to treat iron deficiency anaemia where oral iron tablets are not tolerated, ineffective or cannot be used. Iron tablets often have significant side effects such as nausea or constipation, making compliance poor.

Iron deficiency is very common, affecting close to 1 in 6 New Zealand women1 and many men. It is associated with anaemia and results in severe fatigue. The condition is particularly prevalent in pregnancy, cancer, digestive problems and chronic blood loss such as from heavy menstrual bleeding.

The major clinical advantages of Ferinject® over current infusions are the faster administration time, 15 minutes, and reduced treatment related adverse events.
MidCentral District Health Board haematologist Dr Elayne Knottenbelt said the treatment and listing as a subsidised DHB Hospital medication allowed significantly shorter admissions and increased capacity to treat more patients.

“The improved safety profile is also very reassuring and makes it more appealing to both patients and prescribing professionals,” Dr Knottenbelt said.

“A single short hospital visit to replace the iron will make a big difference to a patient’s quality of life, while an increased awareness of iron deficiency and efficient replacement of iron will hopefully result in improved wellbeing and a reduction in lost productivity.

Dr Knottenbelt emphasised the extreme importance of investigating and treating the underlying cause of iron deficiency which can be the first sign of a significant disease, such as bowel cancer.

The intravenous treatment will also allow clinicians to treat patients effectively prior to surgery or before giving birth, leading to improved patient outcomes including the potential for a reduction in blood transfusions and ultimately cost savings for the stretched health budget.

Patients with heart failure and renal disease can also benefit significantly from having adequate iron available.

  • For additional information on iron deficiency see
  • Funding in DHB hospitals applies where treatment with oral iron has proven ineffective, or is clinically inappropriate

1 WHO statistics; World Health Organization. United Nations Children’s Fund. United Nations University. Iron deficiency anaemia: assessment, prevention, and control. A guide for programme managers. Geneva: WHO, 2001.

Vifor Pharma, a company of the Galenica Group, is a world leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products for the treatment of iron deficiency. The company also offers a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines as well as over-the-counter (OTC) products. Vifor Pharma, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, has an increasingly global presence and a broad network of affiliates and partners around the world.

Ferinject® is an innovative non-dextran intravenous iron replacement therapy discovered and developed by Vifor Pharma, a company of the Galenica Group. Ferric carboxymaltose is the active pharmaceutical ingredient of Ferinject®. To date, Ferinject® has gained marketing authorisation in 61 countries worldwide for the treatment of iron deficiency where oral iron is ineffective or cannot be used. In many countries, intravenous iron replacement products are primarily used to treat dialysis patients. However, iron deficiency is also a complication of many other diseases. Vifor Pharma is evaluating new opportunities in the treatment of iron deficiency with Ferinject® in different therapeutic areas. Further clinical trials with Ferinject® in chronic kidney disease (CKD), oncology (anaemia in cancer patients), cardiology (chronic heart failure), patient blood management and women’s health are ongoing.

Aspen* is a pharmaceutical company that commenced operations in Australia and New Zealand in May 2001. It is a dynamic company with a diverse product range including branded and generic pharmaceuticals, healthcare, nutritional and specialty pharmaceutical products. Aspen products cover a broad range of therapeutic areas including endocrinology, cardiology and oncology.
*Aspen comprises Aspen Asia Pacific Pty Ltd (ABN 75 146 444 484) and its subsidiaries, including Aspen Pharmacare Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 51 096 236 985), Aspen Pharma Pty Ltd (ABN 88 004 118 594), Aspen Nutritionals Australia Pty Limited (ACN160607509),Orphan Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN50 115 816 209), Orphan Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 11 067 189 342), and Arrow Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd (ABN 17 003 144 170).
Reference 1: IMS’ AMI MAT Dec 2013


Beatrix Benz

Head of Global Communications & Public Affairs

Vifor Pharma Ltd.

Global Communications
Flughofstrasse 61
P.O. Box
CH-8152 Glattbrugg

+41 58 851 80 00
+41 58 851 80 01

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