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PHARMAC's role in breast cancer drug debate

Monday, 13 February 2006

Dunne queries PHARMAC's role in breast cancer drug debate

Associate Health Minister and United Future leader Peter Dunne is querying the conflicting role being played by the Government's drug-buying agency, PHARMAC, in the debate over whether the breast cancer drug, Herceptin, should be subsidised more widely.

At present, PHARMAC subsidises the drug for women in the final stages of breast cancer and is querying research which shows it is beneficial for women in the early stages of the illness as well.

"This means" says Mr Dunne "that PHARMAC is making a clinical decision on the drug and is then using that decision to make the funding choice.

"This is a confusion of roles that I am not convinced is in the best interests of the people of New Zealand.

"That's why United Future included in its confidence and supply agreement with Labour the view that a national medicines strategy be developed and the role of PHARMAC in that strategy be reviewed," said Mr Dunne.


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