News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Five Years Since KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Funded For Melanoma Patients But Many New Zealanders Still Waiting

1 October 2021, Merck Sharp & Dohme New Zealand Limited (MSD) says it is now five years since the funding of immunotherapy medicines for advanced melanoma (stage four) that had spread throughout the body and this is a milestone for patients. 1

Mr Paul Smith, MSD New Zealand Director, says “In 2016, advanced melanoma patients only had funded access to a 26-year-old chemotherapy treatment but immunotherapy medicines such as KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) were, and still are, changing the face of advanced melanoma cancer treatment worldwide. 2,3

“Over 1,500 advanced melanoma patients have accessed funded immunotherapies over the past five years. We would like to see this funding extended to the adjuvant treatment of patients with stage three melanoma (melanoma removed surgically and with cancer found in the lymph nodes) as these patients have a 44-74 percent chance of the cancer returning within five years.” 4,5

Melanoma New Zealand CEO Andrea Newland, says, “The funding of immunotherapies changed the treatment landscape for patients with advanced melanoma. Funding has given many melanoma patients hope.

“That said, there are many more patients who could benefit from funded immunotherapy – and so we would like to see funding extended to immunotherapy drugs earlier than stage four. New Zealand has the highest melanoma rates in the world and so preventing, detecting and treating melanoma early need to be absolute priorities.” 6

Mr Paul Smith, MSD New Zealand Director, says “MSD has made 10 KEYTRUDA applications to PHARMAC across six types of cancers, but we only have one funding for the treatment of advanced melanoma. We hope this changes soon, with additional funding, as all patients deserve the same opportunity.” 5

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland