Tens of thousands of people with a heart rhythm disorder are expected to switch to a new treatment under a deal announced by Pharmac.
The State drug-buying agency says the deal is costing $155 million over five years and is likely to be its largest-value investment this year.
Pharmac says the deal signed with Boehringer Ingelheim is for an innovative form of anti-blood clotting treatment for those with atrial fibrillation, a major cause of stroke.
The new treatment, Dabigatran, offers an alternative to the standard blood-thinner, warfarin, which is difficult for some to tolerate and requires careful management.
Pharmac says there will be no restrictions on the new drug, so it can be prescribed by any clinician.