News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


PHARMAC shuts door on 400 New Zealand women

PHARMAC shuts door on 400 New Zealand women

Monday, 16 October 2006

The government’s drug funding agency PHARMAC has confirmed it will not be funding Herceptin® (trastuzumab) for women with HER2 positive early breast cancer, making New Zealand the first country in the developed world to say ‘no’ to funding the drug.

Svend Petersen, managing director of Roche Products (New Zealand) Limited, says PHARMAC has effectively shut the door on the 400 New Zealand women that currently have HER2 positive early breast cancer.

“PHARMAC’s decision flies in the face of international opinion and international best practice for the treatment of HER2 positive early breast cancer”, Mr Petersen says.

Mr Petersen says PHARMAC’s claims of “uncertainty” over the strength of data supporting Herceptin simply do not add up, given that 22 other OECD countries have already approved funding based on exactly the same data.

“The decision to fund Herceptin for 52 weeks across the majority of the OECD member nations was based on the same data provided to PHARMAC. This data came from four major international clinical trials, including the HERA trial, one of the largest breast cancer studies ever conducted.”

“This was also the same data that led to positive funding decisions in both the United Kingdom and Australia, both announced in the last two months.

“Out of 30 members of the OECD, only New Zealand has declined funding for Herceptin. South Korea, Turkey, the Slovak Republic, Poland and the Czech Republic are still considering their position on funding Herceptin for the treatment of early breast cancer”, Mr Petersen says.

The HERA trial, studied the effects of Herceptin treatment in a group of more than 5,000 women. The trial found that Herceptin reduced the number of deaths by almost 34 per cent, and the chance of the cancer recurring by almost 36 per cent when given for 52 weeks.

31 New Zealand women with HER2 positive early breast cancer took part in the HERA trial.

Mr Petersen says PHARMAC’s proposal to consider the clinical evidence for providing Herceptin for anything but the internationally accepted 52 week treatment period appears to contradict its own funding evaluation process.

“On the one hand PHARMAC says the data from four large international clinical trials are insufficient to justify funding Herceptin for 52 weeks, but, in the same breath, it says it is prepared to investigate funding for a shorter period based on significantly less clinical evidence.

“Not only does that contradict international opinion regarding the best length of treatment, it also appears to contradict PHARMAC’s own requirement to have robust clinical evidence before considering funding new medicines.

“Roche continues to assert that the current body of evidence supports 52 weeks of Herceptin as the optimal treatment duration in early HER2 positive breast cancer.”

Mr Petersen says it is a cruel irony that PHARMAC has chosen to make the announcement in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the same month in which Australia began funding Herceptin for women with HER2 positive early breast cancer.

“Roche has made every effort to secure funding, to ensure New Zealand women had access to a treatment that is considered standard across the rest of the developed world.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi.
More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

CDF Tim Keating: NZ Somme Centenary

"Our generals also knew what to expect, and they built that knowledge into their planning. Each of the four set-piece attacks was fought with a single brigade, with the expectation that the brigade would be used up. A fresh brigade would then be brought up to conduct the next set-piece..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news