BCAC welcomes proposal to fully-fund chemo drug, Docetaxel
BCAC is thrilled the government's drug buying agency, PHARMAC, is considering fully funding the chemotherapy medicine, docetaxel, for all types of breast cancer.
Currently, only some women with Her2-Positive breast cancer have access to funded docetaxel.
BCAC has long campaigned for docetaxel to be subsidised for all types of breast cancer and this has been supported by medical professionals through the Breast Cancer Special Interest Group of the New Zealand Association of Cancer Specialists (BSIG).
PHARMAC is now accepting submissions to fully fund the drug for all cancers. Submissions are due to the agency before 3 June 2011.
BCAC chair, Libby Burgess, says this latest development is great news for New Zealand women with breast cancer.
"Studies have shown that this cancer medicine increases survival, so we welcome its wider availability for women with breast cancer.
"In addition, it is a taxane that is much less likely to cause permanent nerve damage than the older version. It will have a positive impact on many women's lives, reducing the incidence of chronic pain and disability," says Libby.
In some cases, docetaxel can also be used to replace chemotherapy agents that cause heart damage.
A further advantage of is that docetaxel can be delivered to patients once every three weeks, rather than every week as is the case with the taxane most commonly used in New Zealand at the moment, paclitaxel.
Says Libby, "This will free up nursing and hospital resources that are already in short supply and provide a more convenient programme for women receiving treatment."
You can view PHARMAC's consultation document here.