Our submissions and applications
The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition makes submissions and applications to Government, DHBs, PHARMAC and health organisations with the aim of improving the access to, and quality of, treatment for women with breast cancer.
On this page you can view the recent submissions and applications we've made.
- In June BCAC responded to Pharmac's consultation on their proposal to make trastuzumab emtansine available to people who have residual disease after neo-adjuvant HER-2-targeted therapy. BCAC supported the provision of this medicine for the specified group of patients who have early HER2 positive breast cancer and are at high risk of recurrence. However, BCAC was concerned that Pharmac proposed to limit access to a second treatment with trastuzumab emtansine for these women, should their cancer return as metastatic disease. At present, trastuzumab emtansine is an important medicine for those with metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer. BCAC's response here be found here.
- In July BCAC made a comprehensive submission to the independent review panel set up by the Government to conduct a review of PHARMAC. You can read this submission here.
- PHARMAC recently proposed declining a number of inactive funding applications. This included first line fulvestrant for metastatic breast cancer, lapatinib later line for metastatic breast cancer and pertuzumab neo-adjuvant for early breast cancer. Following a review of the clinical trial evidence, we made a submission that these medicines are recommended in international guidelines and they will benefit some patients so we oppose the proposal to decline them. View the complete submission here.
- BCAC met with Minister of Health, Hon. Andrew Little in March 2021. The three key issues BCAC raised with the Minister were: risk management and targeted screening for early detection and prompt treatment; improving access to medicines; and introducing precision genetic testing. Read our briefing here.
- BCAC provided feedback to PHARMAC's proposed changes to how their advisory committees operate. In relation to the Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) we suggested: refining the definition of a consumer for CAC so that members are people who can genuinely provide advice from the perspective of affected patients; that CAC members be drawn from people nominated by groups representing patients; and that CAC members be required to consult those needing a particular medicine or medical device under consideration, through recognised patient groups and individual patients.
- With respect to Clinical Advisory Committees in PHARMAC's proposed changes BCAC suggested: the inclusion of a consumer representative on both the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) and its Specialist Advisory Committees; experts in the disease area (such as clinicians who have been involved in clinical trials) and consumers in the disease area under discussion be brought in to provide their knowledge, experience and insights when particular treatments are under consideration; PTAC and its Specialist Advisory Committees to provide much more advice to PHARMAC, for example, providing advance knowledge across particular disease areas, to allow planning for future developments, rather than just reacting to submissions; more frequent meetings and timely provision of minutes to speed the provision of advice.
- Read BCAC's full response on these changes here.
- BCAC has objected strongly to PHARMAC's proposal to decline funding of nab-paclitaxel. Read the consultation response submitted in October 2020.
- Fay Sowerby, BCAC Secretary, has written two papers discussing breast screening protocols in New Zealand and the need to improve them. Read Moving towards personalised breast screening in New Zealand. The second paper, Improving our breast screening protocols, can be read here.
- Members of BCAC's committee met with the newly established Cancer Control Agency in January 2020. Read a summary of our response to the recently published New Zealand Cancer Action Plan 2019-2029.
- BCAC made a submission in January 2020 to PHARMAC supporting their proposal to fund palbociclib (Ibrance) as a first-line and second-line treatment of HR-positive, HER2-negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Read the submission.
- BCAC's AGM was held on the 3rd December. See a copy of Libby Burgess's, BCAC Chair, report here.
- BCAC and Breast Cancer Cure made a joint submission in response to the proposed Cancer Action Plan 2019-2029. Read our submission here.
- BCAC responded to a consultation from PHARMAC regarding the funding of breast cancer medicine trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1 Kadcyla) for HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer. We supported the proposal to provide access to this treatment and asked PHARMAC to widen the criteria further than initially proposed. Read our response.
- We also responded to a PHARMAC consultation to fund fulvestrant (Faslodex®) for post-menopausal (either naturally or induced) women with locally advanced or metastatic (advanced) oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer whose disease has progressed following previous treatment with either an aromatase inhibitor (letrozole, anastrozole, exemestane) or tamoxifen. BCAC endorsed this proposal but also asked for access to be given with urgency. Read our response here.
- BCAC appeared before the Health Select Committee in early August to speak to their submission regarding the Petition of Emma Crowley for the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition: Fund Breast Cancer Drugs. You can read a copy of our submission here.
- In May BCAC made a submission to the Health and Disability Review. Read a copy here.
- BCAC presented a petition to Parliament on 7th May along with a number of other disease groups who presented petitions at the same time all requesting the funding of various medicines. The BCAC petition Petition of Emma Crowley for the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition: Fund Breast Cancer Drugs urged the Minister of Health to provide sufficient funding to PHARMAC to subsidise all of the drugs listed in the Euorpean ESMO guidelines for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Read a copy of BCAC deputy chair Emma Crowley's speech at that presentation here.
- BCAC made a submission in March to the Health Select Committe in support of Terre Maize's petition for funding of Ibrance and Kadcyla - see a copy here. Also here a summary of that submission.
- BCAC met and worked with all Auckland District Health Boards (DHBs) to improve treatment options by improving local delivery of chemotherapy and targeted therapies in South Auckland. This work continues and BCAC wrote a detailed report for the Auckland DHB - How can ADHB achieve greater equity and improved outcomes for Maori and Pasifika breast cancer patients and how could BCAC assist? View a copy here.
- In November 2018, BCAC made an application for the funding of palbociclib (Ibrance) for those currently being treated for hormone receptor positive metastatic breast cancer. BCAC made the application because the recommendation for funding is only for those who haven't already received a hormonal treatment such as tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor. This means if this funding recommendation is appproved, funding will only be provided to those who are newly diagnosed and all those currently being treated will be excluded. See the application here.
- In August 2018, BCAC made a submission to the Health Select Committee in favour of the immediate introduction of intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) by Intrabeam to the public health system in New Zealand. IORT is a highly effective treatment option for New Zealand women in selected cases of early-stage breast cancer. Read our submission.
- In July 2018, BCAC made a submission on PHARMAC's Consumer Voice consultation, where it sought input into how it could better incorporate the consumer voice into its work. In our submission we said PHARMAC must collaborate and partner with consumers/patients at every step of the decision making process, in place of the current very formal and closed PHARMAC structure. This would improve decisions leading to enhanced outcomes for all those involved including consumers, family, whānau, communities and PHARMAC. Read the submission here.
- In July 2018, BCAC and Breast Cancer Foundation NZ made a strongly worded and evidence-based joint submission to PHARMAC requesting that funding for Perjeta (pertuzumab) be extended to all people with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer. Read the submission here. Read the poster referred to in the letter: Final overall survival (OS) analysis of PHEREXA study.
- In July 2018, BCAC met with the Associate Minister of Health Hon. Julie Anne Genter, Labour’s Health and Wellbeing Caucus member Hon. Louisa Wall and National’s Health spokesperson Hon. Michael Woodhouse. The two key issues highlighted by BCAC in the talks were the need to improve access to medicines; and the need to address inequities for Māori and Pasifika women in breast cancer screening and treatment. Read the submission here.
- BCAC made an application for the medcine Afinitor (everolimus) to be funded. This is used for the treatment of women with hormone receptor positive HER-2 negative advanced breast cancer (ABC) – in combination with exemestane (or tamoxifen or fulvestrant) in post-menopausal women after recurrence or progression following a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. See the application here.
- BCAC has also made two further applications to PHARMAC in 2018 for other medicines to be funded. One for Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) which is used to treat advanced breast cancer in people who have already received other medicines. See the application here. The other application is for Faslodex (fulvestrant) which is used to treat hormone-receptor-positive advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women with disease progression following anti-oestrogen therapy. See the application here.
- Following the funding of Perjeta by PHARMAC in late 2016, BCAC and the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ made a joint submission to PHARMAC early this year to request extending the funding of Perjeta to include all those being treated with Herceptin (trastuzumab) for metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer. This request was not declined outright but PHARMAC stated they require more clinical trial evidence before extending the funding. Read the submission here.
- In December 2016, BCAC met with the Minister of Health and presented a briefing which made a case for increased medicines funding and outlined other areas of concern. Read the full briefing here.
- In November 2016, BCAC made a submission to PHARMAC applauding their decision to fund pertuzumab for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer patients. However, there are some aspects of the proposed Special Authority criteria for access to pertuzumab that we have serious concerns about. Read our submission here.
- In October 2016, BCAC provided feedback to PHARMAC’s consultation on the implementation of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) provisions and other amendments to application Processes. Read our feedback here.
- Early in 2016 BCAC made a joint submission with the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists to suggest that the Faculty amend its position that Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is not supported by sufficient evidence to form a view. Read the full submission here.
- In March 2015, BCAC met with Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman, Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne and Labour Health spokesperson, Annette King. We highlighted the need for improved access to breast cancer medicines, ensuring the Breast Cancer Standards are implemented, better access to clinical trials, the ability to review the safety and ethical status of clinical trials and the timely introduction of intra-operative radiotherapy. Read the full briefing here.
- In October 2014, BCAC made a submission to PHARMAC asking that funding of pertuzumab (Perjeta) for the treatment of metastatic HER2 positive patients be given a high priority following the outstanding results from the CLEOPATRA study showing its efficacy. Read our letter to PHARMAC here.
- In October 2013, BCAC met with the Minister of Health Tony Ryall, the Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew and Labour Health spokesperson, Annette King. We highlighted the need for progress in the following areas: an appropriate body to review the safety of clinical trials involving NZ patients; the need for improvements to lymphoedema care, psychosocial care, subsidised fertility treatment and delayed breast reconstruction; the need for changes to the free breast screening age bands; and funding issues in the public and private sectors. Read our briefing to the Minister of Health here.
- In November 2013, BCAC wrote to the National Health Committee, asking it to recommend introducing intraoperative radiotherapy using Intrabeam for selected patients with breast cancer in the public health system. Read out letter to the National Health Committee here.
- In August 2013, BCAC made a submission to PHARMAC regarding the decision criteria it uses for funding medicines. Read our response to PHARMAC's Decision Criteria Consultation here.
- In April, BCAC wrote in support of a PHARMAC proposal to consider funding Pegfilgrastim to prevent neutropenia in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- In October 2012, BCAC met the Minister of Health Tony Ryall, the Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew, Health Select Committee member Dr Jackie Blue, Labour Health spokesperson Maryan Street and Green Health Spokesperson Kevin Hague to deliver a strong message about the needs of New Zealanders with breast cancer. Read more about what we told the politicians here.
- In August 2012, BCAC commented on a proposal by the Government's drug-buying agency, PHARMAC, to create a nationally consistent list of medicines which it would fund for all District Health Boards. Read more about what BCAC had to say on the suggested schedule of pharmaceuticals here.
- In June 2012, BCAC commented on a proposal by the Government's drug buying agency, PHARMAC, to change it's operating policies and procedures. You can read BCAC's submission on Pharmac's operating policies and procedures here.