Open Letter to Prime Minister Chistopher Luxon, Minister of Finance Nicola Willis, and the Associate Minister of Health (Pharmac) David Seymour

Dear Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Minister of Finance Nicola Willis, and Associate Minister of Health (Pharmac) David Seymour.

In August last year a promise was made to fund 13 new cancer medicines via a $280 million ring-fenced fund to Pharmac. According to the National election manifesto, that fund was to start on July 1 this year by reinstating the $5 prescription fee. As you stated Prime Minister, those 13 medicines are "for lung, bowel, kidney, melanoma, and head and neck cancers that provide significant clinical benefits and are funded in Australia but not in New Zealand. Under National, New Zealanders will not have to leave the country, mortgage their home, or start a Givealittle page to fund potentially lifesaving and life-extending treatments that are proven to work and are readily available across the Tasman.”

Treatment holidays most likely to be safe for HER2-positive and/or hormone receptor-positive advanced breast cancer

Treatment holidays, where therapy is temporarily stopped, are something that those living with advanced breast cancer sometimes have to contemplate. Perhaps there is an important occasion coming up – a wedding or other family celebration, or an overseas trip – where the side effects of the treatment would interfere with enjoyment of the occasion. In discussing this with their oncologist, it’s important to take into account the current evidence – for or against – taking treatment holidays.

Here's BCAC’s report of a talk on this topic at the recent ABC7 international advanced breast cancer conference: