17 Aug 2016

Pharmac criticised for waiting too long to fund Keytruda

8:33 pm on 17 August 2016

A woman who had Stage IV melanoma has criticised drug-buying agency Pharmac for not funding Keytruda earlier, saying hundreds of lives could have been saved.

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Photo: Supplied

Earlier this month, Pharmac announced it would fully fund Keytruda from 1 September.

But Leisa Renwick told the Health Select Committee that, over the past 12 months, many people had died waiting for the drug, which had been available privately.

It was terrible that New Zealand had become a place where it was acceptable to trade off the lives of patients as part of a commercial negotiation process, she said.

Mrs Renwick said the Pharmac model needed to change - to become more transparent, and to make it easier for new, innovative drugs to be funded.

Watch Leisa Renwick's interview with Checkpoint in June:

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