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Dr Shane Reti’s Member’s Bill Pulled From Ballot

National Party MP Dr Shane Reti’s Member’s Bill has been pulled from the ballot today and would see unfunded chemotherapy drugs administered in public hospitals.

The Member’s Bill proposes a law change that would allow DHBs to administer, and cover the cost of administering, day-stay cancer medicines where PHARMAC does not fund them. Families would still need to find money to fund the medicines but would be saved the private hospital costs of administering the medicines.

Cancer Society of New Zealand Chief Executive Lucy Elwood says “We are very aware that financial strain goes hand in hand with a cancer diagnosis even before factoring in unfunded drugs. Many people struggle with affordability around the basics like taking time off work during treatment and transportation to appointments.”

“The Bill will ease the burden for those New Zealanders who pay, sometimes through Go Fund Me pages and mortgage deferment, for unfunded drugs. The hospital cost to administer these drugs can be up to one third of the total expense. We certainly acknowledge the difference this could make.”

“However, we are optimistic that this will be the beginning of a conversation and we will provide a submission if the Bill reaches Select Committee. This Bill will make a difference to some, but it is one component in a very complex puzzle. To expect one Bill to confront the issues of cancer care in Aotearoa is like expecting one financial policy to solve housing affordability – but it can be a starting place.”

“We are committed to ensuring the voices of cancer patients are heard and currently we are working with the Government on changes to the Health and Disability System and have provided a submission to the PHARMAC review.”

“There is much progress to be made and we look forward to continuing the conversation and using this as an opportunity to explore the complications that need to be addressed in order to achieve an equitable, less-stressed health system that meets the needs of all New Zealanders.”

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