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Herceptin Decision Saves Money, Not Lives

Press Release
Herceptin Decision Saves Money, Not Lives

Heather Roy MP
Friday, August 8 2008

ACT Deputy Leader and Health Spokesman Heather Roy today demanded to know why the Labour-led Government could find $25 million to save endangered snails, but cannot provide drug-buying agency PHARMAC with the funds to give cancer sufferers a 12-month course of Herceptin treatment.

"This is ridiculous, as is Health Minister David Cunliffe's claim to have no influence over PHARMAC's decision - Ministers can move Heaven and Earth at a rapid pace when they need to avoid political embarrassment," Mrs Roy said.

"The 12-month course of Herceptin is already funded in 33 countries around the world - such decisions are always financially motivated. As such, PHARMAC's decision yesterday is a financial one fostered by nine years of Labour driving our economy into the ground to the point where we cannot afford to purchase medications widely available throughout the world.

"The only way to solve this is a change, not just of government but, of direction. Rather than worrying about how to carve up the economic cake, we must grow a bigger one to ensure that we can afford to fund 12-month Herceptin treatments - as well as making available other quality medications we currently miss out on.

"A change in direction would also see us use that money effectively, putting the lives of endangered New Zealand women ahead of endangered gastropods - that turned out not to be endangered after all," Mrs Roy said.


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