Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Herceptin decision disappointing

Jackie Blue MP National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

16 February 2006

Herceptin decision disappointing

National's Associate Health spokeswoman, Dr Jackie Blue, is disappointed by Pharmac's statement today that it will not broaden its subsidy for Herceptin to include women with early breast cancer.

"Pharmac's suggestion that the drug is unsafe and international trial data 'incomplete' prejudges the Medsafe assessment. It could have referred its concerns to its specialist cancer committee, but it didn't," says Dr Blue, herself a breast physician.

"It is puzzling that Pharmac considered the trial data 'incomplete' because Herceptin has been evaluated in four trials involving 13,000 women.

"It speaks volumes that places like France, Canada, Italy and United Kingdom are coming on board funding this drug for women with early stage breast cancer.

"These places would not have approved the use of Herceptin without the drug being thoroughly assessed and scrutinised. Herceptin has already been evaluated and is used by women in New Zealand with advanced breast cancer.

"I am extremely confident that Pharmac's concerns regarding the safety of the drug will be addressed.

"Time is of the essence for these women. Quite understandably, women with aggressive, Herceptin-responsive breast cancers don't want to wait for the cancer to spread to their liver, lungs, bones or brain before they can get access to it.

"This is a drug with the potential to save lives. Pharmac must factor in the human toll of its decision, and it's extremely frustrating that the decision could now mean that the funding decision will be delayed," says Dr Blue.


 Scoop graphic by Lyndon Hood.ALSO: Scoop Report - Will Herceptin Media Blitz Help Or Harm Patients?In the last few days there has been a powerful media and political campaign pushing the benefits of the new cancer drug Herceptin. The editor of North and South magazine, Robyn Langwell, devoted her March 2006 editorial to outlining the plight of women who were attempting to raise enough money to undergo a course of Herceptin. Ms Langwell railed in her editorial at the 'tight fisted holders of the Pharmac purse' who she considered were responsible for cancer sufferers being forced to mortgage their homes and beg for money to fund their non Pharmac subsidised treatment.

  • BCAC - Advocacy Group Disappointed by PTAC Decision
  • PHARMAC - PTAC has first view of trastuzumab (herceptin)
  • PHARMAC - Medsafe, PHARMAC With Different Roles In Medicine
  • United Future - PHARMAC's role in breast cancer drug debate
  • National - Human toll must be factored in Herceptin decision
  • Roche NZ - Position Statement Regarding Herceptin
  • ENDS

    © Scoop Media

    Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

    Gordon Campbell: On The Case For Nationalising Our Urban Bus Services

    When it comes to funding and managing public transport, should local government or central government bear most of the responsibility for delivering a quality service? Ratepayers or taxpayers? Those basic questions re-surfaced yesterday, after the government announced its intention to scrap the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) imposed by the last National government in 2013. That model had required councils to use private contractors to run the buses, via a cut-throat competitive tendering process...


    School Strike 4 Climate: Intergenerational Climate Strike On September 23rd
    Once again School Strike for climate Ōtautahi (Christchurch) is asking all students to unite in a call to all council candidates to #voteclimate. Happening on Friday 23rd of September... More>>

    Privacy Commissioner: Public Input Sought To Inform Privacy Rules For Biometrics
    Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on the use of biometric information in Aotearoa New Zealand... More>>

    National: Food Prices Climb Taking Kiwis Backwards
    Kiwi families continue to battle runaway food prices, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says... More>>

    Human Rights Commission: Urgent Government Action Needed To Support Renters’ Human Rights
    An immediate freeze on rent increases could give renters some reprieve during the cost-of-living crisis says Te Kahui Tika Tangata, the Human Rights Commission... More>>

    Government: Creating Sustainable Public Transport For All
    Workers and public transport users are at the heart of the new Sustainable Public Transport Framework, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today... More>>

    Government: Tax Break To Boost Long-term Rental Supply
    The Government is encouraging more long-term rental options by giving developers tax relief for as long as the homes are held as long-term rentals, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced... More>>




    InfoPages News Channels