Campaigners say the end of a long battle to convince Pharmac to fund a powerful anti-inflammatory drug may be in sight.
The state drug-buying agency announced on Tuesday it will consult the public on whether to fund Adalimumab.
Arthritis New Zealand is among those who have been lobbying for nationwide funding of the drug. Until now, it has been made available only by some district health boards.
Gastroenterologist Richard Gearry says the drug has proven to be very effective in treating the severest forms of Crohn's disease, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.
He says Adalimumab could make a huge difference to the quality of life for sufferers of severe Crohn's disease.