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National Calls On Govt To Fund Cancer Drug

5 July 2002

National is calling on the Government to fund Pharmac so it can subsidise the use of Glivec for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia, National Health Spokesman Roger Sowry said today.

"Pharmac's consultation process on the Glivec access criteria for CML patients, in accelerated phase and blast, ends today. I strongly urge the Government to increase the funding to Pharmac so that more than just 10 patients a year can have the drug

"The Government should fund Pharmac so that patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia in the - early, accelerated and blast crisis stages - can receive the drug.

"Glivec is a breakthrough in the treatment of this cancer. A major study released in May 2002 showed that Glivec is three times more effective in the early phase of CML than the current interferon treatment.

"The statistics show that this drug warrants Government funding," Mr Sowry said.

"I have had many letters and emails from CML patients and their families. Those lucky enough to be on Glivec have talked about the tremendous improvement in quality of life compared interferon.

"They have been able to return to work, be active members of their families, and to being full and active members of their communities.

"The Government allows the country's 21 district health boards to run up operating deficits but Pharmac cannot get extra funding for this breakthrough drug. This drug has proven itself.

"National supports the expanded use of Glivec. We will work with Pharmac to ensure evidence-based best-practice guidelines are devleoped in order to treat those patients who will benefit the most," Mr Sowry said.


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