October 17, 2018
Lung cancer drug denied Pharmac funding
The Lung Foundation is pushing Pharmac to fund a new drug that had been proven effective for treating a certain type of large cell cancer.
More than 500 adult Māori are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and it is the leading cause of cancer death for Māori
.Foundation chief executive Phillip Hope says the best practice standard for successful management of serious illness is now based on personalised treatment rather than general chemotherapy, but Pharmac doesn’t fund for that standard.
He says Alectinib or Alecensa is five to six times better than chemotherapy for abut 5 percent of patients, about 100 cases a year, but patients must pay more than $6000 a month.
In the last five years Pharmac has only agreed to reimburse 23 percent of new medicines.
"The average across the OECD is about 58 percent so New Zealand is very low on the number of new treatments being approved for reimbursement so yes, there are many good treatments that have been registered and are available but that means our whānau have to pay and that is simply unacceptable for a system that is paid through taxes," Mr Hope says.
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