INDEPENDENT NEWS

Hon Annette King - Re: Beta-Interferon

Published: Sun 26 Dec 1999 01:15 PM
Media Release
Minister of Health
Hon Annette King
EMBARGOED SUNDAY DECEMBER 26
Re Beta-Interferon
Health Minister Annette King has directed the Health Funding Authority to instruct the board of Pharmac to fund the beta-interferon drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Her decision brings to a successful end a long campaign by sufferers of the disease and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Mrs King said today, "We made this pledge during the election campaign, and it was a decision supported by the health select committee which heard compelling evidence that the previous Government took little notice of.
"Multiple sclerosis is a disease with little or no treatment possible, and the Government wants to do what it can to help sufferers who can benefit from this drug treatment.
"Until this decision, New Zealand was one of only two countries in the world mean enough not to fund those drugs."
Mrs King said criteria for eligibility for beta-interferon has been developed in direct consultation with leading New Zealand neurologists who specialise in the management of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the nervous system that impairs the flow of messages from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body.
The disease causes sufferers to go through bouts of becoming worse or better, and while there is no cure, clinical trials have shown beta-interferon drugs can help reduce the number of relapses in some patients by about 30 percent a year, and the rate of severe attacks by about 50 percent.
For patients whose disease has caused ongoing progression of disability (the secondary progressive form of MS), beta-interferon delays progression by about 50 percent, meaning the drugs may prolong the time between when a person is diagnosed with MS and becomes quite disabled.
Mrs King said perhaps up to 130 New Zealanders could be helped by the new subsidy.
Some New Zealanders already paid for the drugs themselves, but their eligibility for access to the subsidy would be no higher or lower than any other patient, Mrs King said.
ENDS

Next in New Zealand politics

Auckland Pride remains committed
By: Auckland Pride Festival
PM welcomes state visit by Korean President Moon Jae-in
By: New Zealand Government
Changes to drinking water standards and health
By: New Zealand Government
Police detention was unlawful but reasonable
By: Independent Police Conduct Authority
Joint Statement by Sebastián Piñera and Jacinda Ardern
By: New Zealand Government
Top academics call on government to take climate action
By: UNITEC
New plan for high quality early learning
By: New Zealand Government
Auckland Pride Parade statement from Vodafone Rainbow Whanau
By: Vodafone NZ
Police Banned From Marching in Uniform at Auckland Pride
By: RNZ
Water regulation and funding reform on mid-2019 deadline
By: BusinessDesk
Wellbeing and Water – a necessary conversation
By: New Zealand Government
LGNZ welcomes drinking water reform, urges pursuit
By: Local Government NZ
Need for water sector reform reflected in proposals
By: Water New Zealand
Right time to discuss the role of local government
By: Infrastructure New Zealand
Time to address the dry topic of water
By: EMA
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media