August 08, 2019
Public pressure gets cancer drugs funded
An advocate for cancer sufferers needing new generation drugs says he doubts Pharmac's decision to fund two more drugs would have happened without sustained public pressure.
The government drug buying agency says starting in December it will fund Kadcyla for breast cancer and Alecensa for lung cancer.
Mr Mulholland from the Metavivors group says it's positive news, as Kadcyla will prolong the lives of at least 230 women for on average a year, and the drug for lung cancer, which is the biggest killer of wāhine Māori, will extend lives on average by three years.
But it doesn't take away the need for a review of Pharmac's processes.
"We’ve seen time after time certain drugs that people really need to be funded, people have marched on the streets and presented petitions, and subsequently they have been funded. It shouldn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t have to be this hard," Mr Mulholland says.
He's still optimistic Ibrance, which his wife Wiki is taking, will eventually be funded, as it has a positive recommendation from Pharmac's cancer subcommittee.
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