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


Vital drug to be funded for advanced HER2 breast cancer

Today PHARMAC released a proposal to fund Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine, T-DM1) for women with advanced HER2 positive breast cancer.

‘This is fantastic news for these women,’ said Libby Burgess, Chair of the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC). ‘This is one of the drugs that Metavivors petitioned for and marched to parliament about last year. It is a proven treatment that can extend the lives of these women with fewer side effects than currently available drugs.’

‘To access Kadcyla at the moment, women must pay $9,000 per month’, said Libby, ‘and this puts it beyond the reach of most New Zealanders.’

About 20% of women with advanced breast cancer have the HER2 positive sub-type and will benefit from the decision to fund Kadcyla.

Libby and other BCAC Committee members Emma Crowley and Louise Malone, along with breast cancer specialist Sarah Barton, had just finished presenting to the Health Select Committee when they heard the news.

‘There are still drugs for other sub-types of breast cancer that need to be funded’, said Emma. ‘Today we made the case to the Health Select Committee to bring New Zealand’s medicines budget up to a level that would enable us to have the kind of cancer care that women in other counties enjoy.’

BCAC’s petition to the Committee called for funding for all of the drugs recommended for advanced breast cancer in the ESO-ESMO guidelines.

Today the Health Select Committee also heard submissions on petitions from patient advocacy groups representing lung and ovarian cancer, myeloma, leukemia and the rare disorders Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Pompe disease. All described the needless suffering imposed by New Zealand’s poor access to modern medicines for these conditions. All called for an overhaul of PHARMAC and a substantial increase in the medicines budget to bring it into line with other OECD countries.

‘We need to at least triple the medicines budget if New Zealand is to approach the OECD average’, says BCAC Committee member Louise Malone. ‘Only then can we have a chance to reduce our appalling breast cancer death rate’.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Westpac Exiting Cake Tin: Stadium Announces Naming Rights Agreement With Sky

Wellington Regional Stadium Trust (WRST) and Sky Network Television Ltd (Sky) have announced a new partnership that will see Sky secure the naming rights of the Stadium from 1 January 2020. More>>


ASB Classic: Serena Williams Confirmed For 2020

One of the biggest names in sport has confirmed she will be returning to the ASB Classic in 2020. Twenty-three time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams will return to Auckland’s ASB Tennis Arena to challenge for the ASB Classic title. More>>

Netball: Taurua To Coach Silver Ferns Through Two More Campaigns

Netball New Zealand has confirmed Taurua will guide the Silver Ferns as they take on the Australian Diamonds in October’s Cadbury Netball Series (Constellation Cup), along with the Northern Quad Series in late January. More>>


Bigger But Less Novel Than The Parrot: Giant Fossil Penguin Find

The discovery of Crossvallia waiparensis, a monster penguin from the Paleocene Epoch (between 66 and 56 million years ago), adds to the list of gigantic, but extinct, New Zealand fauna. These include the world’s largest parrot, a giant eagle, giant burrowing bat, the moa and other giant penguins. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland