3 Sep 2017

Plea for public funding for new cancer drug

8:52 pm on 3 September 2017

A new cancer drug has been approved for use in New Zealanders - and the Breast Cancer Coalition is calling for it to be publicly funded.

A pink ribbon symbolising breast cancer

Photo: 123RF

The drug, Ibrance, works by interfering with certain proteins in the body and helps stop cancer cells from dividing and growing.

Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition's Libby Burgess said the drug would help hundreds of women with a particular kind of breast cancer, but it would be too expensive if it was not government subsidised.

"It's going to cost New Zealanders around $5000 a month and that means most people won't be able to access this drug.

"We really have an important breakthrough medicine and we need to get Pharmac to get right onto this and to fund it very soon."

Ms Burgess said the drug company had yet to file an application with Pharmac.

Breast cancer is New Zealand's third most common cancer. It kills more than 600 people each year.

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