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Herceptin decision - system is failing NZers

8 August 2008

RMI Media Release

Herceptin decision yet another confirmation that system is failing New Zealanders

“PHARMAC is hiding behind clinical ‘issues’ in order to attempt to justify its refusal to fund Herceptin and other innovative and modern medicines,” the Researched Medicines Industry Association’s chairman, Dr Pippa MacKay said.

"How can the New Zealand population feel confident that PHARMAC have got this, and potentially other decisions, right, while everyone else in the OECD has got it wrong? She said.

"This decision is clearly symptomatic of an organisation that is chronically under funded to do the job they are expected to do.

“Government, DHBs and PHARMAC continue to ignore the growing chorus of calls from clinicians and patient groups who had hoped that the new medicines strategy would positively address this issue of transparency, as well as lack of funding.

“The tiny increase in funding for medicines announced recently will go nowhere near even the rate of inflation, let alone provide for the new and innovative medicines New Zealanders not only want, but need.

"PHARMAC should acknowledge that they are using the questionable nine week research in order to justify what is essentially a funding decision. With the election looming, the RMI strongly encourages the Government to listen to clinicians and patient groups who know that medicines can make a positive difference to the quality of life to many people, and to also acknowledge the consequent reduction in hospitalisation and carer support costs," Dr MacKay said.

ENDS

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