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Over 27,000 Kiwis Support 12 Months Of Herceptin

Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC)
Media Release
Auckland, 23 August 2007

Over 27,000 New Zealanders support 12 months of Herceptin

The 27,424 signature strong Mandy Carter Herceptin Petition presented to Parliament today by Nelson MP Nick Smith sends a loud and clear message that New Zealanders support the funding of Herceptin for 12 months.

Five Nelson area women, all fundraising to pay for their own Herceptin treatment, launched the nationwide Petition earlier this year to highlight the need for women with early stage HER2 positive breast cancer to have funded access to 12 months of treatment.

'We congratulate the Nelson women on their very successful Petition,' said BCAC Chair, Libby Burgess. 'It clearly illustrates that there is widespread, national support for the proven 12 months of funded Herceptin that women in 24 other OECD countries already receive. New Zealanders believe that women and their families dealing with a diagnosis of HER2 positive breast cancer should not have to face financial hardship in order to access the best care available. All New Zealand women, whatever their financial status, should receive appropriate, effective treatment for their illness so they can focus on fighting the disease and getting back to normal life.'

PHARMAC has decided to fund only 9 weeks of Herceptin, based upon the weak statistical evidence of a small Finnish trial. 24 other OECD countries have funded 52 weeks of Herceptin for women with early stage HER2 positive breast cancer, a sound decision based upon the proven data from international studies involving many thousands of women worldwide.

Ms Burgess added that the recent international Karolinska Institute Report showed that of 25 countries surveyed, only Poland has worse access to cancer treatment drugs than New Zealand. 'It's time for PHARMAC and the government to wake up and turn this awful statistic around,' said Ms Burgess. 'This is an essential step in making New Zealand's Cancer Control Action Plan a reality and not merely an exercise in elaborate window dressing.'

Herceptin campaigner Anne Hayden submitted The Anne Easter Hayden Herceptin Petition to Parliament on March 16 2006. She said when she collected over 18,000 signatures and presented that first Herceptin petition to Parliament, she never imagined that women would still be fighting to get a fair deal a year later.

About the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition

The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) is an Incorporated Society with charitable status, presenting a unified voice to call for change, improvement and innovation on behalf of all New Zealand women experiencing breast cancer. BCAC was formed in November, 2004 when twelve New Zealand breast cancer organisations came together at a forum to create one group. BCAC now has twenty member organisations and is currently working on five major initiatives:

1.. to ensure consistent, high quality detection and treatment of breast cancer throughout New Zealand by promoting the development and implementation of evidence-based best practice guidelines;

2.. to support the prompt and effective implementation of the extended age breast-screening programme (45 to 69);

3.. to inform and advocate for improved access to breast cancer treatment drugs;

4.. to research and promote the provision of professional psychosocial services for breast cancer patients and their whanau, family, friends and supporters;

5.. to identify and promote breast cancer issues for Maori and Pacific Island women

To arrange an interview with a representative from the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition, please contact us.


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