Cancer Society comments on Cancer Medicine funding update from PHARMAC

Chris Jackson 600x400

Comments from Dr Chris Jackson, Cancer Society Medical Director and Oncologist.

PHARMAC’s announcement on speeding up their processes will not help one more person get better access to cancer drugs, and will not help people get cancer drugs faster, predicts the Cancer Society.

PHARMAC have always been able to review medicines without prior MEDSAFE review, or outside their MEDSAFE indication. Therefore, this “change” is little more than business as usual and is not the change we need to ensure New Zealanders get access to the right cancer medicines.

It is great that PHARMAC acknowledge that their processes need to be sped up – and we agree – but this announcement won’t achieve that.

We need real change, like time frames for decisions, greater involvement of experts in decisions, a framework for access to the most promising drugs like the UK Cancer Drugs Fund, and a close look at whether we are spending enough.

Patients want timely decisions to be made, whereas the current process is more like a black hole.

Cancer Society also recommend the benchmarking of access to medicines in Aotearoa compared to other comparable countries. This would enable regular and transparent access to medical treatments and would be an indicator of our access to medicines against other countries

This business as usual dressed up as change does nothing to serve the needs of New Zealanders who want the problems with PHARMAC fixed.


For more information please contact:

Mary Direen
Communications and Marketing Manager | Cancer Society of New Zealand
04 494 7198 or 021 801 243