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“Good But why did it take so long?”

1 October 2008

RMI Media Release

“Good But why did it take so long?”

“While it is good that PHARMAC have announced today that they will begin funding treatments for two types of prostate disease it is shameful that it has taken 15 years in the case of finasteride and seven years for bicalutamide” says RMI Chairman, Dr Pippa MacKay.

“The questions we should be asking is ‘why has it taken so long’ and ‘how many New Zealand men have died or suffered needless pain waiting’.

Bicalutamide will be funded from 1st October for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and finasteride for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).

“PHARMAC’s medical director Dr Peter Moodie emphasises the point that both of these drugs are off-patent and have been sourced at very competitive prices. This statement exposes the basic problem of PHARMAC’s fixation on cost containment and successive Government’s lack of adequate investment in medicines to meet the health needs of New Zealanders said Pippa MacKay

Finasteride was first registered in New Zealand back in 1993 and bicalutamide which was registered in New Zealand in 2001 has been saving or prolonging the lives of men with prostate cancer since it was launched globally back in 1995.

PHARMAC in its media statement confirm that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in New Zealand men and the third most common cause of male cancer deaths.

“We urge the incoming Government following the November general election to redress the lack of investment in medicines relative to other OECD countries said Dr Pippa MacKay.


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