Pharmac defends position not to fund bowel cancer drug

Pharmac is defending its position to not fund a drug recommended to patients with late-stage bowel cancer who react severely to regular chemotherapy drugs.

The patients' doctors have recommended an alternative drug - Tomudex - not funded by the national drug-buyer, which they can only get if they pay for it privately or qualify for funding under the "exceptional circumstances" model.

Director of operations Lisa Williams said 250 patients a year could potentially react to standard medication so those that do are not exceptional and do not qualify for special funding.

She said in late 2016 Pharmac was advised reactions were common.

"We wrote to the DHB that had been putting in most of the applications previously and said, 'this doesn't look like an exceptional situation' and we encouraged them to put in a funding application for the product to be listed in the schedule.

"We received a funding application on Monday this week."

Ten applications have been made by individuals for the drug since 2012.

Ms Williams said Pharmac did not follow up with the DHB on advice from its clinical advisory group.

"We spoke with our cancer clinical advisory group and asked them if it was an urgent thing that we should be progressing.

"Their advice was that we should wait for the specialist doctors to make a funding application, because that would tell us whether or not this was something that was of general interest."

She said she was unsure if Pharmac had consulted directly with bowel cancer oncologists.

"We did consult with our expert group of oncologists, but I'm not aware if we consulted with [bowel cancer oncologists] or not.

Auckland woman, 50-year-old Patricia Tear, a sole caregiver to children aged 9 and 11, was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year.

She had surgery followed by chemotherapy but suffered from cardio-toxicity from the drug, known as 5-FU. It recurred in a second attempt and doctors decided it was too risky to repeat.

Ms Tear applied to Pharmac for Tomudex under "exceptional circumstances" but was declined.

Ms Williams said Pharmac received about 1400 exceptional circumstances requests each year but they had to only consider the patient's health situation.

"Pharmac's acutely aware that all New Zealanders are in some way, and at some time, affected by the funding decisions... it's our job to ensure that our decisions are as fair and as robust as possible using clinical advice.

"What we're keen to do is make sure we're looking at the person's health situation and making sure that we're being consistent in the way that we approach funding to make sure all people experiencing the same situation - from a health perspective - are treated equitably."

rnz.co.nz

Source: rnz.co.nz



Armed police comb east Auckland property over alleged clan lab

Armed police have reportedly swarmed an east Auckland property early this morning following suspicions a clan lab has been set up inside the house.

A 42-year-old man was arrested after a planned search warrant was carried out at a property on Kings Road, Panmure, at around 6am.

The suspect will be facing court on charges relating to the manufacturing of drugs at a later date.

An eyewitness told 1 NEWS they could see multiple cars and armed police outside the property.

Inquiries are ongoing and police remain at the scene.

Anyone with concerns or suspicions over possible illegal activity being conducted at a home is encouraged to contact police.


Source: 1 NEWS


Labour MP 'stating the obvious' that Curran saga could have been handled better – Inside Parliament

MP Greg O'Connor has apologised "unreservedly" to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for saying that the Clare Curran saga could have been handled better. 

But he was merely "stating the obvious", said 1 NEWS reporter Benedict Collins.

The Labour MP tole media perviously the handling of the Clare Curran saga "could have been done better". Source: 1 NEWS

"I don't think anyone will disagree with that. I'll tell you what, it will be done better next time," Mr O'Connor told Newstalk ZB previously. 

Ms Curran resigned from her remaining Ministerial portfolios last Friday, after being stripped from her Government Digital Services and Open Government responsibilities last month for failing to disclose a meeting for a second time.

Maiki Sherman warns the Government isn’t out of the woods just yet as an investigation into Meka Whaitiri continues. Source: 1 NEWS

Inside Parliament is a weekly catch up with 1 NEWS political reporters about the biggest stories of the week. 

A weekly catch up with our political reporters about the stories they have been covering. Source: 1 NEWS

Listen to the full podcast on SoundcloudiTunes and Facebook

The 1 NEWS reporters analyse the what happened before MP Clare Curran's resignation. Source: 1 NEWS

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'We can't even break up a fight' - Teachers frustrated with restraint guidelines

Primary school teachers are at their wits' end when it comes to dealing with violent and disruptive students.

They say tough rules around restraining children mean pupils throwing chairs around and ripping things off the wall can't be stopped.

Teachers in Northland have written to the president of their principals' association, Pat Newman, after he asked what issues they were facing since new rules on physically restraining children were brought in last August.

They said children were trashing classrooms and pouring drinks onto workbooks. They were punching computer screens and threatening children with scissors.

Because they were not causing any harm to other children or themselves teachers felt they were unable to stop them.

Teachers had been told they couldn't touch children, Ruakaka Primary School's principal Marilyn Dunn said.

"If a child decides to, for instance, throw things at other children all around the room, what we're told to do is let him do it and take all of the other children out of the way so [they] don't get hurt.

"So if he wants to throw iPads and break things you've got to allow him to do that and walk out with the rest of the children and wait for the child to calm down."

In the 'old days', things were easier, she said.

"When we were able to sensibly restrain a child we would remove the child who was throwing things around so they didn't disturb the other children's learning,and we would calm them down out of the classroom.

"We can't do those kinds of thing now, we can't even break up a fight."

Teachers felt at risk, and that they could not keep other children safe, Ms Dunn said.

Principal's Federation president Whetu Cormick said children were learning they could get away with certain behaviour.

"And the ridiculous thing about this is that, in society, if a young person or an adult was to cause damage in the street, smashing shop windows for example, that person would be arrested.

"In a school environment you can't restrain a child if they're going to smash a window, or if they're going to throw a chair around."

There should be a review of the guidelines, Mr Cormick said.

That call is echoed by teachers, and heeded by the Ministry of Education.

The ministry will hold meetings with a focus group to refresh the guidelines, Katrina Casey, the ministry's deputy secretary of sector enablement and support, said.

The principal of Wellington's Berhampore School, Mark Potter, said he hoped those changes would include a dose of common sense.

"Because the real danger is - I have heard people say, our school's decided that there will be no touching children full stop.

"Now I think that's a society being created where children are not allowed to have contact with adults."

Ms Casey said in a statement that children should only be physically restrained as a last resort.

In reviewing the guidelines the ministry would talk about the actual scenarios schools were facing.

Ms Casey said it was clear in the guidelines a teacher could use physical restraint if they believed there was a serious and imminent risk to the safety of the student or others.

- By Laura Dooney

rnz.co.nz

Close up shot of pencils in classroom
Source: Te Karere


Great Barrier Island man whose truck battery blew up in his face flown to hospital

A Great Barrier Island man whose truck battery blew up in his face this morning has been flown to Auckland Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

At 9.15am, a rescue helicopter crew was called to Great Barrier Island after the man suffered multiple burns to his body.

He is in Auckland Hospital in a moderate condition. 

Source: 1 NEWS


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