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Science Alert: Experts Respond

Keytruda decision hasn’t addressed drug-funding problems – Expert reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on August 19th, 2016.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world but lags in funding novel drugs that show promise in treating the disease, according to a new study. The study, published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, outlines the clinical information on new melanoma treatments and compares the funding programmes in […]

Pharmac confirms funding for melanoma drug – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on August 3rd, 2016.

Drug-buying agency Pharmac officially announced funding for the melanoma treatment Keytruda on Tuesday. It followed a provisional decision in June to fund the drug and funding for the alternate Opdivo (nivolumab). Pharmac had previously said it had received mixed advice on the long-term benefits of Keytruda (pembrolizumab), but operations director Sarah Fitt said new evidence […]

PHARMAC needs funding boost – Dr Francis Hunter

John Kerr posted in on March 7th, 2016.

Writing on* the University of Auckland’s Dr Francis Hunter outlines the situation PHARMAC and the Government face over the melanoma drug Keytruda. An excerpt (read in full here): ‘Real, urgent’ plight for melanoma patients hoping for better Keytruda funding Pharmac’s assignment of a low-funding priority to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for advanced melanoma has brought cancer drug […]

Push for Keytruda funding – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on March 1st, 2016.

Public pressure is growing for the Government to fund the melanoma drug Keytruda, listed as ‘low priority’ by drug funding agency PHARMAC. A petition of over 45,000 signatures, calling for the drug to be funded through PHARMAC, is due to be presented to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman on the steps of parliament today. Speaking to […]

Transparency needed in cancer drug markets – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on December 4th, 2015.

Experts are calling for greater transparency and fairness in cancer drug pricing, in light of findings revealing discrepancies between Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The results come from a new study published today in the journal Lancet Oncology. The researchers, including a New Zealander, looked at the costs of more than 30 drugs and found […]

PHARMAC not to fund melanoma drug – In the News

John Kerr posted in on December 3rd, 2015.

PHARMAC’s decision not to fund melanoma treatment pembrolizumab – marketed as Keytruda – has been widely covered in the media. Public pressure to fund the drug  increased in September this year following coverage of impressive recoveries attributed to the treatment, and registration of the drug with MedSafe. However according to PHARMAC’s analysis of the available evidence, […]

New melanoma drug in the headlines

John Kerr posted in on September 8th, 2015.

A promising melanoma drug has doctors and patient groups calling for the medicine to be funded by PHARMAC in New Zealand. There has been a flurry of media coverage following a feature story about pembrolizumab on the current affairs show 3D. The drug, marketed as Keytruda, helps the patient’s immune system to fight certain types […]

Continue reading “New melanoma drug in the headlines

Trade deals and healthcare – Prof John McMillan

John Kerr posted in on June 12th, 2015.

On the university of Otago Bioethics Centre blog, centre Director Prof John McMillan writes about the leaked details of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations that relate to PHARMAC and the health system in New Zealand. An excerpt (read in full here): ‘Fairness for Healthcare Technologies’: some detail on the risks to PHARMAC at last? Calls […]

UPDATED: Funding new medicines in NZ – Expert reaction

Laura Goodall posted in on April 17th, 2015.

Funding new medicines in New Zealand can take over eight years and recommending a drug as high priority does not necessarily shorten its wait time, a new study finds. New research published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal has found that there are a substantial number of medicines awaiting funding in New Zealand by […]

PHARMAC funds genetically-targeted Hep C drug

John Kerr posted in on August 22nd, 2013.

PHARMAC has announced it will fund a new hepatitis C drug targeted to patients who carry a particular gene variant, highlighting the rise of personalised medicine. The government drug buying agency will begin funding boceprevir (Victrelis) from next month for certain patients for the treatment of hepatitis C in combination with other drugs. The treatment […]

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