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Masterton man’s brave final act

Media Release
EMBARGOED UNTIL 13 October 2016

Masterton man’s brave final act: supporting a campaign calling for more medicines

Just before he died, a Masterton man with advanced breast cancer joined forces with others who have the disease to make a desperate video plea for better access to medicines.

Max Croskery died in July this year, but features in the moving video which is part of a drive to get thousands to sign an open letter calling for an urgent increase in funding for medicines.

The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) campaign launches on October 13, Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

BCAC’s chair Libby Burgess says the campaign highlights the distressing plight of Kiwis with advanced breast cancer.

“New Zealanders with advanced breast cancer are missing out on ground-breaking new medicines used widely overseas and they are paying the ultimate price – with their lives.

“Medicines such as Kadcyla and Perjeta have had dramatic results in extending their lives. They are available in Australia, but they are not publicly-funded here. New Zealand men and women need and deserve these drugs too,” she says.

Ms Burgess urges New Zealanders to sign the open letter to the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman, asking for an increase in funding for medicines atwww.breastcancer.org.nz/meds

“We need as many people as possible to support the thousands of amazingly strong and brave Kiwis with advanced breast cancer, as well New Zealanders with other diseases, who need access to new medicines. Please take action on their behalf,” she says.

Max Croskery was a father of two who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and then with incurable breast cancer in 2013.

In the video, he says he became disenchanted with being a Kiwi after witnessing New Zealanders poor access to new and innovative medicines.

“People with advanced cancer are such valuable citizens. All those I’ve met through with this disease are still working, they’re parents, they volunteer they contribute to society and the economy. They deserve better,” he says.

Max’s hope was to be able to access treatment that could control his disease. Sadly, this never happened.

You can view the video plea for more funding for cancer medicines here. You can view a video of Max Croskery talking about his experience of breast cancer here.

To sign BCAC’s open letter to the Minister of Health calling for an increase in funding for medicines, visit www.breastcancer.org.nz/meds

ENDS

About medicines funding:

• New Zealanders with breast cancer are 40% more likely to die than Australians.[1]

• Australia spends $435 per person on medicines, but in New Zealand we spend a mere $180 per person[2]

• In the UK, 80% of approved new medicines are publicly funded, in Australia 39%, but in New Zealand it’s only 13%.[3]

• Between 2009 and 2014, New Zealand ranked last out of 20 OECD countries in access to new medicines.[4]

• Breast cancer drugs including Perjeta, Kadcyla, Abraxane, Afinitor and Halaven are publicly-funded in Australia but not in New Zealand.[5]

• Out of 13 OECD countries, New Zealand has the lowest ranking for access to cancer medicines.[6]

________________________________________

[1] Campbell I.D., Scott N., Seneviratne S., Kollias, J., Walters D, Taylor, C, Webster F, Zorbas H and Roder DM 2014. Breast cancer survival in New Zealand women.ANZ J Surg. 2015 Jul;85 (7-8):546-52. doi: 10.1111/ans.12851.

[2] PHARMAC NZ; Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Australia; Statistics NZ; Australian Bureau of Statistics.

[3] Access to New Medicines: Comparison Across OECD Countries. IMS Consulting Group, Report for Medicines Australia, 2015; Comparison of Access and Reimbursement Environments: A report benchmarking Australia’s access to new medicines. Medicines Australia (2015).

[4] Access to New Medicines: Comparison Across OECD Countries. IMS Consulting Group, Report for Medicines Australia, 2015; Comparison of Access and Reimbursement Environments: A report benchmarking Australia’s access to new medicines. Medicines Australia (2015).

[5] Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits: Effective 1 September 2016. PBS, Department of Health, Australian Government. www.pbs.govt.au

New Zealand Pharmaceutical Schedule: effective 1st October 2016. Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC).

[6] Access to New Medicines: Comparison Across OECD Countries. IMS Consulting Group, Report for Medicines Australia, 2015; Comparison of Access and Reimbursement Environments: A report benchmarking Australia’s access to new medicines. Medicines Australia (2015).


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