Pharmac has secured a fifth drug to treat patients sick with Covid-19 as the Government ramps up its arsenal to combat the Delta outbreak.
Health Minister Andrew Little said on Friday Pharmac expected to receive 500 doses of baricitinib this month, which can be used to treat patients who are "very sick".
"It reduces the severity of symptoms and cuts time in hospital and reduces the likelihood of death," Little said.
It follows an announcement on Sunday that Pharmac had secured enough Ronapreve to treat 5300 people, with "medium-to-severe" symptoms, and expects to be able to buy more next year.
Those two now sit alongside remdesivir, tocilizumab and molnupiravir as treatments doctors can turn to for people with a range of Covid-19 symptoms, Little said.
The latest shipment was important given a global shortage of tocilizumab, and gave clinicians another option.
"Preventing people from getting Covid-19 in the first place, through vaccinations, social distancing and mask-wearing, is still the best protection for people and for keeping the health system free for those who need it," Little said.
"But we need medicines for those who do get sick, which is why I am very pleased that the national pharmaceuticals-buying agency Pharmac has secured supplies of another drug shown to work against the Covid-19 virus."
There are currently 65 people in hospital with Covid-19, including five in ICU.
Across the outbreak that began in August, 276 people have needed hospital care, out of 3871 cases. Two people have died.
Over the nearly three months the hospitalisation rate has decreased from over 10 per cent to now just over 7 per cent, coinciding with a rise in vaccination levels among cases.
Funding for the drugs comes from the Government's Covid-19 fund. Baricitinib has yet to be approved by Medsafe for use against Covid-19, but clinicians will be able to use it straight away under Section 25 of the Medicines Act.