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Govt should fund cancer drug

Roger Sowry National Health Spokesperson

24 July 2002

Govt should fund cancer drug

The Government should fund Pharmac so it can subsidise the use of Glivec for more patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia, National Health Spokesman Roger Sowry said today.

The Pharmac Board is meeting tomorrow to consider extending access to Glivec, the breakthrough drug in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia.

"Glivec has proven itself as a successful drug. A major study released in May showed that Glivec is three times more effective in the early phase of CML than the current interferon treatment.

"Pharmac has previously said that the key issue is price. I strongly urge the Government to increase the funding to Pharmac so that more than just 10 patients a year can use Glivec.

"I have had many letters and emails from CML patients and their families. Those who have had access to the drug have said they had a tremendous improvement in quality of life compared interferon.

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


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