BCAC is alarmed by Pharmac’s proposal to review a rule that currently allows children with cancer to have free access to unfunded medicines. Read BCAC’s submission here. Pharmac’s reasoning is that by restricting this access, it would bring treatments for child cancers into line with those for other children’s diseases, where medicines access is limited. The current funding model for paediatric cancer medicines has seen 5-year survival rates improve from 28% in 1961-1970 to 86% in 2010 to 2019, matching rates in similar countries. ‘It would be tragic to see our children’s survival fall as a result of denying them modern medicines’ says BCAC Committee Member Rowena Mortimer. ‘Pharmac should aspire to give all children, no matter what their diagnosis, access to best practice treatments. We would love to see all cancer patients receive the most effective innovative medicines. There are many breast cancer medicines provided as the standard of care overseas that remain unfunded here. Surely Pharmac must do better than aiming for equity at the lowest common denominator, with poor survival and quality of life for all.’