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Other countries fund Glivec - why can’t NZ?

Other countries fund Glivec - why can’t NZ?

Dr Lynda Scott - National Health Spokesperson

The Government must justify why it is denying sufferers of chronic myeloid leukaemia access to a wonder drug that both Britain and Australia are funding, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

Glivec is a drug that has proven to extend the lives and the quality of life for CML sufferers. In New Zealand some patients have had subsidised access to Glivec through a drug trial and from Novartis but many are missing out.

“Speaking for Health Minister Annette King in Parliament today, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia treated CML sufferers with contempt when asked when the Government will fund Glivec. She had not done her homework and refused to answer questions on this important issue.

“These patients, now at a crucial stage in their treatment, have been waiting all year for an answer from the Government as to why it will not fund the continued use of this drug.

“An Otago University Study finds that New Zealand is losing ground behind other countries in the treatment of cancer and has a much higher death rate than Australia. Britain funds Glivec for all stages of CML and Australia has just approved to fund the drug.

“The New Zealand Government must justify why it won’t look ahead in the way that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is when he says it is organising its budget so that ‘wonder drugs’ like Glivec are a priority,” Dr Scott said.

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