Equity in cancer outcomes: lung cancer treatment funding


Equity in cancer outcomes: lung cancer treatment funding

Media release from Lung Foundation New Zealand
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The media release issued today from the Health Research Council (HRC), Te Aho o Te Kahu (the Cancer Control Agency) and the Ministry of Health announces $6.2 million in funding for research aimed at addressing the stark inequities in cancer care and survival for Māori and Pacific peoples in New Zealand.

While, Lung Foundation New Zealand (LFNZ) endorses the funding decision and we applaud the efforts of the researchers that dedicate their life to improving health policy to reduce inequities that persist for NZ’s biggest cancer killer, we want you to know that it is also possible to provide patients access to more treatment options RIGHT NOW!

Reimbursement of treatments still sitting with Pharmac, would prevent premature death which is a sad reality for lung cancer patients in NZ.

As we speak, 45% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer are diagnosed at A&E. These patients represent our most vulnerable and sadly they die prematurely.

Access to treatment is access to life and this is the reality for patients in New Zealand.

The writer is especially concerned for patients diagnosed with lung cancer that do not have the ability to self-fund treatments, because they suffer a further chronic condition known as financial toxicity.

Q. Can we not give patients access to the treatment/s they should be entitled to?

Knowing scientific research has already proven the efficacy of many targeted therapies (per Osimertinib, Crizotinib, Lorlatinib, Entrectinib etc) and immunotherapy drugs like pembrolizumab (keytruda), atezolizumab and durvalumab.

It is especially concerning reimbursement by Pharmac (an instrument of government) continues to be prevented because of thrift policy settings.

Bold leadership guided by equity could prevent what we consider a preventable humanitarian crisis in New Zealand.