PHARMAC has announced it will soon fund breast cancer cancer medicine trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), which is needed for women with the second most common subtype, HER2 positive breast cancer. This is fantastic news!
National Party's health leader Michael Woodhouse has promised to take New Zealand's biggest ever cancer petition - signed by more than 100,000 Kiwis - to Parliament and says he will fight to drastically better the country's public health system. Woodhouse was one of 650 New Zealanders who gathered in Invercargill this weekend to join dying dad Blair Vining in his last hope for change.
Vining - with his wife Melissa and their daughters Lilly and Della-May - are the backbone of the petition calling on the Government to fund a national cancer agency. "Every New Zealander should have the right to the best treatment regardless of money, age, ethnicity, and location," Melissa says.
The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition yesterday said Pharmac had refused funding for Kadcyla, one of two drugs which women with advanced breast cancer hope will be funded by Pharmac. "This is a huge blow for women with advanced HER2 positive breast cancer who took a petition to Parliament in October 2018 calling for Pharmac to fund this medicine," Breast Cancer Aotearoa chairwoman Libby Burgess said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Roche said Roche representatives and senior members of Pharmac met on April 12. "At this meeting Roche was notified that currently the prioritisation of Kadcyla meant that Pharmac would be investing in other medicines. When Roche asked what those other priorities were, Pharmac would not share any further information," the spokeswoman said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has asked Health Minister David Clark to look into early access to new medicines, after highly public calls from women with advanced breast cancer since at least October last year for medicines they need.
Major new research has discovered a protein that can determine whether or not a person will benefit from hormone therapy or chemotherapy. Research is now underway to turn it into a tool or biomarker that clinicians can use to target the best treatment for each patient.
Aucklander Sarah Cato desperately fundraises for access to Perjeta, a drug she needs that is funded in New Zealand for most but not all. Sarah is one of the unlucky ones.
High profile breast cancer medicines advocate Sarah Cato organises a fundraising event to get funding for her treatment and to raise the profile of the need for public funding.
Huge turnout of Metavivors and their supporters at Parliament on 16 October! We called for urgent funding for vital breast cancer medicines as well as an investigation of PHARMAC’s funding and processes.
Two Rotorua women describe how challenging it is to get access to the unfunded breast cancer medicine Ibrance. For one, her parents are using their retirement savings to pay for the medicine for her, and the other had to sell a property to pay for the medicine.
Blair Vining has spoken out against the public health system which he says fails to hold District Health Boards to account for life-threatening wait times. He had to wait eight weeks for an "urgent appointment" with an oncologist after being diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. Instead he went to private Christchurch oncologist Chris Jackson - who is also the medical director of Cancer Society New Zealand - and has gained more time with his family.