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Hospital cancer drug funding approved

Hospital cancer drug funding approved

A hospital drug for colorectal cancer will gain wider usage following a decision by Government drug-funder PHARMAC and District Health Boards.

Oxaliplatin is currently available through DHB hospitals as a second-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer. The change will see oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) made available as a first-line treatment.

PHARMAC Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says oxaliplatin will continue to be used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to treat metastatic colorectal cancer.

“The data we have seen shows that using oxaliplatin earlier in therapy can help people with an invasive form of cancer live longer,” Dr Moodie says.

“For people with late-stage cancer this can be valuable time spent with family and loved ones.”

Studies of combination chemotherapy containing oxaliplatin first-line compared with combination chemotherapy containing irinotecan demonstrated a median five-month improvement in survival.

PHARMAC estimates that about 1000 people are treated for metastatic colorectal cancer each year.

Oxaliplatin became available as a first-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer from 1 December 2005, with the agreement of District Health Board Chief Executives.

[ends]

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