Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC)
23 October 2008
For Immediate Release
Herceptin may be on horizon for NZ women
John Key’s announcement today that a National-led government will fund 12 months of Herceptin could bring immeasurable
relief to women and their families affected by early stage HER2 positive breast cancer.
The National health policy has brought new hope to Herceptin campaigners who have battled PHARMAC with petitions and
legal proceedings in unsuccessful attempts to overturn the current situation of funding for only 9 weeks of treatment.
Twelve months of Herceptin is the current standard treatment publicly funded for women in 33 other countries.
New Zealand women wanting more than the 9 week regime must pay for the treatment themselves. A 12 month course can cost
between $50,000 and $100,000.
‘Whilst this pledge by John Key will not help women already facing this difficulty, implementation of this policy would
certainly ease the stress for those enduring HER2 positive breast cancer in the future,’ said Breast Cancer Aotearoa
Coalition (BCAC) Chair Libby Burgess.
Key cited the example of Australia which has a higher per capita spend on medicines than New Zealand.
‘It’s time New Zealand caught up with the rest of the world,’ said Burgess. ‘We are lagging behind. New Zealand’s per
capita funding of pharmaceuticals is only 76% that of Australia. In Australia public expenditure on prescription
medicines is 14% of the total health budget compared with only 6% in New Zealand. We are delighted to see a policy that
would significantly improve our access to medicines in this country.’