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

 


Are New Zealand & Australia ready for new cancer therapies?

31 July 2013

Are New Zealand & Australia ready for new cancer therapies?

Medicines New Zealand welcomes the report ‘Access to Cancer Medicines in Australia’, and calls for a similar stakeholder discussion to occur in New Zealand.

The report generated by Deloitte Access Economics, was presented at todays’ Medical Oncology Group Australia (MOGA) Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne. It highlights the significant burden of disease that cancer presents, and highlights disparities around investment in the Australian health system. For example, cancer receiving only 13% of health funding despite it representing 20% of disease burden. The report also highlights that significant advances are being made in research and development of new cancer medicines, but obtaining timely, equitable and fair access to new cancer treatments is going to be a challenge.

“This new report is valuable and many of the key conclusions can equally apply to New Zealand”, said Kevin Sheehy, General Manager of Medicines New Zealand.

Cancer is a major health issue for New Zealanders, and one in three New Zealanders will have some experience of cancer, either personally or through a relative or friend. Like Australia, cancer is New Zealand’s leading cause of death (29 percent) and a major cause of hospitalisation.

Reducing the burden of cancer in the New Zealand community is also one of the Government’s priority areas as our rate of cancer is likely to grow with the ageing population.

International comparison of estimated incidence of all cancers, 2008


Click for big version.

Source: Ferlay et al 2010, cited in AIHW & AACR 2012

“The New Zealand Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Programme has the goal of better, sooner and more convenient cancer care, and this is to be commended. Particularly as it has a specific goal for timely access to chemotherapy. However it does not address the key issue of whether NZ is getting timely to the best treatments that are now available.” says Sheehy.

Unfortunately, the lack of medicines budget available to PHARMAC has not allowed NZ to remain up to date with the latest advances in medicine while our total health spend remains in the top 10 OECD countries. Cancer therapies are no exception.

Breast cancer patient advocacy group, the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition, agrees that more needs to be done to ensure New Zealanders have ready access to new cancer medicines.

BCAC chair, Libby Burgess, says the Deloitte’s report notes many Australian stakeholders are concerned that new cancer medicines are introduced much later there than they are in the US and Europe.

“The situation is far worse in New Zealand, where on average we see new medicines introduced some three-and-a-half years after Australia. This means New Zealanders are waiting far too long for treatments which could save lives,” Ms Burgess says.

The report questions the way medicines subsidies are evaluated and assessed in Australia and Ms Burgess says a similar evaluation needs to be undertaken in New Zealand.

Some stakeholders noted that the Australian reimbursement system, first implemented 20 years ago for determining the value for money of medicines, has not adapted sufficiently to the changes in the development of medicines and diagnostic technologies, particularly in regard to targeted cancer medicines. Many components of the current process are not fit for purpose to meet the emerging issues associated with cancer medicines.

The Deloitte’s report recommends “procedural improvements by streamlining the complex and lengthy regulatory and reimbursement processes” in Australia.

Ms Burgess says similar ‘procedural improvements’ are needed in New Zealand to ensure that new medicines are evaluated quickly and subsidised in a timely manner to truly benefit the health of country. BCAC is hopeful that PHARMAC’s current consultation on its Operating Policies and Procedures will lead to faster more transparent decisions and access to a wider range of effective medicines.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Tauranga Books Festival

Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news