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Herceptin decision supported


Herceptin decision supported

Women’s Health Action welcomes the Court decision on Herceptin released today. Of the 28 challenges brought against Pharmac over Herceptin, only one was found to have substance. The other 27 were not upheld.

However, the one challenge upheld relates to the decision to turn down the drug company application for Pharmac to fund Herceptin for twelve months on the basis of a lack of consultation at the time. The Court has asked Pharmac to revisit the decision and consult widely.

“We find this interesting because this is when we entered the Herceptin debate to support Pharmac’s decision. We did so because we felt that media coverage and lobbying for Herceptin was giving women with breast cancer false hope because they were developing unrealistic expectations of Herceptin. We felt that the decision was wise and would have said that had we been consulted. We used this announcement to say it publicly instead. ’ says Jo Fitzpatrick, Director of Women’s Health Action. We felt that the costs and harms outweighed the benefits on the basis of the information that was available from clinical trials.
We look forward to a review of the data relating to twelve month treatment and to being part of the consultation.

We are delighted that the Court decision supports the ongoing funding for nine weeks of Herceptin treatment – a decision that the Court action tried to reverse. Until we have definitive data supporting treatment for a year, the shorter course offers similar treatment benefits with less exposure to the drug and therefore reduced likelihood of side effects.


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