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Herceptin decision a slap in the face for Labour

Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

3 April 2008

Herceptin decision a slap in the face for Labour

The court-ordered review of the decision not to fund 12 months of Herceptin, the internationally accepted norm, is a “well deserved slap in the face” for the Labour Government’s drug buying agency, says National’s Associate Health spokeswoman, Jackie Blue.

Dr Blue, a former breast physician, is commenting on the decision by Judge Gendall that Pharmac must reconsider afresh an application to fund 12 months and to further consult with the public, clinicians and other stakeholders.

“The judge said Pharmac had to consult properly and was obliged to ensure that it was open and fair.

“I’m pleased the Labour Government’s drug buying agency is being held to account for ignoring the views of cancer specialists.

“In my opinion, the decision to fund nine weeks was not based on the best evidence available, and it put Kiwi women in the position of being human guinea pigs for a largely unproven regime.

“Almost every cancer specialist who wrote to Pharmac said ‘don’t do it’.

“Pharmac now owes it to all New Zealanders to engage in more than just token consultation this time around.

“The Health Minister also owes it to breast cancer sufferers to make good on the broken promise that he will give proper weight to the views of cancer specialists.”

ENDS

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