Number of submissions: 2712

Letter to the Minister of Health

Thank you for supporting New Zealanders with advanced breast cancer, New Zealanders with other forms of cancer and New Zealanders with other diseases.

Add your name in the form below to send this letter to the Minister of Health asking him take action so that New Zealanders can access vital medicines to improve their health and prolong their lives.

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Dear Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman,

New Zealanders with advanced breast cancer are dying earlier than they need to because they can’t access vital new cancer medicines.

Right now, five breakthrough breast cancer medicines are funded in Australia, but not in New Zealand. [1]

Kiwis are missing out and they are paying the ultimate price - with their lives. [2]

We’re calling on you to urgently increase the budget for medicines to give New Zealanders with cancer and other diseases a better chance.

New Zealand’s spending on medicines is paltry compared with other OECD countries. Some telling facts:

• New Zealanders with breast cancer are 40% more likely to die than Australians. [3]
• Australia spends $435 per person on medicines, but in New Zealand we spend a mere $180 per person [4]
• In the UK, 80% of approved new medicines are publicly funded, in Australia 39%, but in New Zealand it’s only 13%. [5]

We need to do more. 

Better access to medicines would dramatically improve the lives of New Zealanders with advanced breast cancer and thousands of New Zealanders with other diseases.

We urge you to act now: significantly increase funding for medicines and save New Zealand lives.

Yours sincerely,

 


 

[1] These are Abraxane, Afinitor, Halaven, Kadcyla, and Perjeta. 
Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits: Effective 1 September 2016. PBS, Department of Health, Australian Government. www.pbs.govt.au

New Zealand Pharmaceutical Schedule: effective 1st October 2016. Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC).

[2] New Zealanders with breast cancer are 40% more likely to die within 5 years than Australians. Campbell I.D., Scott N., Seneviratne S., Kollias, J., Walters D, Taylor, C, Webster F, Zorbas H and Roder DM 2014. Breast cancer survival in New Zealand women. ANZ J Surg. 2015 Jul;85 (7-8):546-52. doi: 10.1111/ans.12851.

The deaths of 529 New Zealanders with breast cancer would be prevented over five years if we had Australia’s survival rate.

Sandiford, P., Abdel-Rahman, M. E., Allemani, C., Coleman, M. P., & Gala, G. (2015). How many cancer deaths could New Zealand avoid if five-year relative survival ratios were the same as in Australia? Aust N Z J Public Health, 39(2), 157-161. 10.1111/1753-6405.12344

[3] Campbell I.D., Scott N., Seneviratne S., Kollias, J., Walters D, Taylor, C, Webster F, Zorbas H and Roder DM 2014. Breast cancer survival in New Zealand women. ANZ J Surg. 2015 Jul;85 (7-8):546-52. doi: 10.1111/ans.12851.

[4] PHARMAC NZ; Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Australia; Statistics NZ; Australian Bureau of Statistics.

[5] Access to New Medicines: Comparison Across OECD Countries. IMS Consulting Group, Report for Medicines Australia, 2015; Comparison of Access and Reimbursement Environments: A report benchmarking Australia’s access to new medicines. Medicines Australia (2015).

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