20 Aug 2014

New blood treatments to be funded

8:35 pm on 20 August 2014

Drug-buying agency Pharmac is funding wider treatment choices for people with blood disorders and cancers.

Pharmac director of operations Sarah Fitt said from next month it would fund a new medicine for those with a group of blood disorders, known as myelodysplastic syndromes, as well as those with two types of leukaemia.

It will also fund another new medicine, lenalidomide, for patients with multiple myeloma. The latter patients had just bortezomib, or thalidomide, which could cause tingling, numbness and pain in hands and feet, she said.

"We've identified that there is a health need. We look at all the different factors around funding these agents."

Up to 400 patients a year, many of them elderly, will benefit.