More cancer medicines for more people

Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options.

PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer.

This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, kadycla for advanced breast cancer and venetoclax for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government has made improving cancer care and control a long-term priority.

“Cancer is a terrible disease, and I know these new drugs will be a welcome treatment option for many people. This is a Government committed to more medicines for more people.

“I’m also pleased to note that PHARMAC has now confirmed it will push ahead with the plan to consider funding applications for new cancer medicines at the same time as Medsafe does its work. 

“That could speed up PHARMAC’s assessment process by as much as 12-15 months. 

“Of course, improving access to cancer medicines is just one part of our comprehensive approach to cancer care and control. 

“Earlier this week the Prime Minister and I formally opened the Cancer Control Agency, which will drive work to improve care, screening and prevention work.

Key cancer care initiatives announced this year include:

“Modernising our approach to cancer and putting an end to the postcode lottery for cancer care will take time, but we’re heading in the right direction,” David Clark said.