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Hodgson comment on Herceptin announcement

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

28 July 2006 Media Release

Hodgson comment on Herceptin announcement

Today's announcement on funding for Herceptin is a reminder of the difficult issues surrounding the funding of new pharmaceuticals, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said.

PHARMAC announced today that its clinical advisory committee has recommended not funding Herceptin at this time for early stage breast cancer patients. It cited a relative lack of data and considerable uncertainty around the safety and effectiveness of different treatment courses in its decision.

"I know this decision will be difficult for many people to accept," Pete Hodgson said. "I hope people realise that these are also very difficult decisions for PHARMAC and its clinical advisors to make.

"PHARMAC is an independent agency with clinical expertise and the complicated task of ensuring that as many effective medicines as possible can be funded for as many New Zealanders as possible.

"PHARMAC can only be effective if decisions are left to clinical experts and made on the evidence available.

"PHARMAC will actively review new evidence as it becomes available. More evidence will be released in the months ahead and PHARMAC will act quickly to assess any new information."

ENDS

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