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Patient advocates celebrate Pharmac's proposal to fund breast cancer drug Kadcyla

The Breast Cancer Foundation is celebrating Pharmac's proposal to fund the drug Kadcyla along with treatments for lung cancer and multiple sclerosis.

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The agency is also looking into new treatments for lung cancer and multiple sclerosis. Source: 1 NEWS

The drug buying agency's now seeking feedback from patients, medical professionals and cancer services.

Breast cancer patients have been fighting hard for funded access to Kadcyla.

Chris Jackson, medical director of the Cancer Society, says these new treatments will be very welcome to the patients who will benefit from them.

“Kadcyla and Alecensa are high quality treatments,” Dr Jackson told 1 NEWS. 

This announcement is a standard part of the long negotiating process it takes for Pharmac to secure drugs and it has been a very long wait for patients, Dr Jackson said.

All going to plan, final signoff from Pharmac's board will see the drugs funded by December 1.

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Michael Mulholland discussed the lack of life-saving or extending cancer drugs. Source: Breakfast

Today, Pharmac released a proposal to fund Kadcyla for women with advanced HER2 positive breast cancer.

Libby Burgess, chair of the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition, hailed the decision as a great outcome for the 20 per cent of women with advanced breast cancer that will benefit from funded Kadcyla.

“To access Kadcyla at the moment, women must pay $9000 per month and this puts it beyond the reach of most New Zealanders,” she said.

“This is one of the drugs that [patient advocacy group] METAvivors petitioned for and marched to Parliament about last year. It is a proven treatment that can extend the lives of these women with fewer side effects than currently available drugs.”

The Health Select Committee also heard submissions today on petitions from patient advocacy groups representing lung and ovarian cancer, myeloma, leukemia and the rare disorders spinal muscular atrophy and Pompe disease.

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Richard Milne discussed Pharmac funding and life-extending cancer drugs. Source: Breakfast

All described the needless suffering imposed by New Zealand’s poor access to modern medicines for these conditions and called for an overhaul of Pharmac and a substantial increase in the medicines budget to bring it into line with other OECD countries.

"We need to at least triple the medicines budget if New Zealand is to approach the OECD average,” said Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition committee member Louise Malone.

"Only then can we have a chance to reduce our appalling breast cancer death rate,” she said.