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Inside the immunotherapy revolution – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on May 30th, 2017.

New Zealand researchers are at the forefront of the latest war on cancer: immunotherapy. NZ Herald science reporter Jamie Morton goes inside the revolution. An excerpt (read in full…) “Let’s not mince words: it’s a barn-storming, breathless revolution.” Professor Graham Le Gros doesn’t mean to come off sounding over the top. It’s just he’s palpably […]

Pharmac considers subsiding sanitary products – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on February 21st, 2017.

Drug-funding agency Pharmac will consider an application to subsidise sanitary products. Campaigners have been lobbying for greater access to the items, following reports last year of women and girls missing work or school or relying on rags and newspapers because they couldn’t afford pads and tampons. Pharmac chief executive Steffan Crausaz told Radio NZ that […]

HPV vaccine now funded for boys – Expert Q&A

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on January 31st, 2017.

As students head back to school this week, boys, as well as girls, will have funded access to the HPV vaccine Gardasil. The rollout follows Pharmac’s decision last year to extend the vaccine programme. Though Gardasil is commonly known to protect against cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) also causes other cancers in both men and women. […]

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 Stuff.co.nz* 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 […]

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