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Expert group backs National’s Herceptin policy

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

31 October 2008

Expert group backs National’s Herceptin policy

National's Health spokesman Tony Ryall welcomes today's release of the New Zealand Guidelines Group (NZGG) draft consultation document on best practice guidelines on the management of early breast cancer.

It recommends that 12 months of Herceptin is the standard of care for women with Her-2 breast cancer.

“National completely agrees that New Zealand women shouldn’t have to hold garage sales to pay for a 12 month course of this potentially life-saving drug,” says Mr Ryall.

The Guidelines Group recommendation flies in the face of the current Government’s nine-week course.

National’s Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue, a former breast physician, says the NZGG is a highly respected group of independent clinical experts whose aim is to improve health outcomes through the use evidence based guidelines.

“They attributed the highest level of evidence possible with the 12 month recommendation," Dr Blue says.

The findings are in keeping with the Medsafe advisory committee which refused to register the nine week course because of a lack of clinical evidence.

Pharmac's own expert cancer committee also wanted the 12 month course.

“Some 33 countries fund the longer course of Herceptin for women. It’s a disgrace that this evidence has been ignored.

“A John Key led National Government is committed to funding the full 12 month course of Herceptin,” Mr Ryall says.


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