Metavivors and BCAC overjoyed at funding announcement
Metavivors and BCAC are delighted that two vital breast cancer medicines will soon be funded.
In fantastic news for women with advanced breast cancer, PHARMAC on 1 September 2019 announced a plan to fund fulvestrant (Faslodex) and called for tenders for a CDK 4/6 inhibitor (palbociclib (Ibrance) or ribociclib (Kisqali)). Both are needed to extend the lives of women with advanced hormone-receptor (HR) positive HER2 negative breast cancer; 61% of women have this subtype of breast cancer and could benefit from these medicines.
This news comes on top of the recent announcement that PHARMAC will soon fund trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), which is needed for women with the second most common subtype, HER2 positive breast cancer.
The announcements follow continued pressure for increased access to breast cancer medicines from patients and their supporters.
‘Metavivors’ Terre Nicholson and Sue Wall-Cade, who last October put forward a petition calling on the government to fund Ibrance and Kadcyla, are thrilled at this outcome. ‘We did it!!’ says Terre. ‘And we couldn’t have done it without the support of the amazing team who have worked together to get these crucial medicines across the line. We’re so grateful to BCAC for applying to PHARMAC for Faslodex and Ibrance funding, to all the courageous Metavivors who stood up and told their stories, and in particular to Wiki and Malcolm Mulholland who provided faces and voices for those desperately needing these medicines’.
The announcements on 1/9/2019 will be life-changing for many hundreds of New Zealand women and their families. PHARMAC estimates around 550 newly diagnosed women will receive treatment for advanced HR positive breast cancer each year and 1600 already under treatment will be eligible in the first year of funding. ‘It’s a huge relief to see vital treatments funded for this very common form of breast cancer’ says Libby Burgess, Chair of BCAC. ‘Additional funding for medicines is crucial in closing the gaps between New Zealand and the rest of the world in cancer and other health outcomes.’ Also on 1/9/2019, the Government announced $20 million extra for this year’s medicines budget and another $40M next year. ‘It’s great to see this extra investment but we still lag well behind other OECD countries and much more is needed to deliver the world class cancer care the Prime Minister says all New Zealanders deserve. But this latest news is truly something to celebrate’.