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Media release: Plea for medicines funding

The Government must increase funding for medicines desperately needed by people with breast cancer and other cancers, Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) says.

Our Submissions

The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition makes submissions 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 we've made.


  • 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' sdrug-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.

BCS Northland Pink Loop Walk


Walk the loop for Breast Cancer Support Northland Trust

Registrations are now open for the Pink Loop Walk supporting the Breast Cancer Support Northland Trust.

When: Sunday 21st October, 9am

Register your friends and family with your school code - there are great prizes for schools with most registrations. 

Dog friendly - dress up your dog and they could win a prize.

Wheel friendly - decorate your bike/ scooter/ wheelchair and be in to win.

For more information click here.

Register here.



Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 09:00

Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust Pink Walk


Rotorua Pink Walk

When: Wednesday, 17 October, 6 pm

Where: Village Green, Rotorua Lake Front, Whakaue Street, Rotorua

The Rotorua Breast Cancer Trust (RBCT) are so excited to let you know that the Rotorua Pink Walk is just over a month away! The Pink Walk Base at the Village Green will feature entertainment, food vendors and fun for the kids from 4:30pm on Wednesday 17th October. The walk will set off at 6pm.

Online registrations are now open, so save time on the day and register now. It's easy and you can register as few, or as many people as you like. Recently RBCT had a huge group of 30 people register! 

As always, they will have plenty of spot prizes to give away on the day as well as their major prizes for best dressed individuals, groups and the Business Team trophy. 

They're looking forward to seeing you at this year's Pink Walk!

Register here!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 18:00

BCAC Annual General Meeting


BCAC Annual General Meeting

When: Thursday, 15 November 6 pm

Where: Domain Lodge, Auckland Cancer Society, 1 Boyle Crescent, Grafton, Auckland.

We are very fortunate this year to have Professor Sandie McCarthy address our annual meeting. Professor McCarthy is currently Head, School of Nursing at the University of Auckland. Her current research programme focuses on the prevention, assessment and management of the short and long-term toxicities of cancer therapy, particularly chemotherapy. She has a particular interest in women's wellness during and after breast cancer therapy and is currently Co-Director of the Women's Wellness after Cancer Program based in the Menzies Institute of Health, Queensland.

Please join us to hear from Professor McCarthy and to meet our BCAC team. RSVP to


Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 18:00

Genetic risk of breast cancer - webinar


Does breast cancer run in your family, or do you want to find out more about genetic risk?

You are invited to register to attend the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) NZ's upcoming webinar, Genetic Risk of Breast Cancerpresented with Dr Vanessa Lattimore ​and Kimberley Gamet.

When: Tuesday 21st August, 7-8 pm

Duration: 60 minutes

Where: Online - anywhere you like!

Please click here to register. 

Meet your panel

Kirsty Walters & Vivian Gubb who both have BRCA mutations will talk about their family history and the decisions they had to make.

Dr Vanessa Lattimore works for the Familial Breast Cancer study at the University of Otago. Vanessa was awarded the 2018 BCFNZ Belinda Scott Clinical Fellowship. Vanessa explores BRCA mutations in greater depth, as well as looking at other, lesser-known genetic variations.

Kimberley Gamet works as a genetic counsellor for Genetic Health Service NZ. Kimberley works in conjunction with clinical geneticists to provide information, counselling and support for families with, or at risk of, a genetic disorder.

What will you get out of this session? 

Tune in to the next webinar where BCF representatives will be speaking to a panel of experts about the inherited risk of breast cancer, including the BRCA1/2 mutations, as well as other lesser known mutations. They will also speak about the important decisions around preventative action and how to get access to genetic testing here in New Zealand.

They will be joined by a panel of experts, including research scientist Dr Vanessa Lattimore and genetic counsellor Kim Gamet. Two patients will also join to talk about their experiences with inherited risk.

The last 15 minutes of the session will take the form of a Q&A, where the experts answer your most pressing questions.

Please click here to register. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 - 19:00