The Government is playing a deadly waiting game for New Zealanders with advanced melanoma, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.
“Research today reveals New Zealand now has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, surpassing Australia.
“Meanwhile, the Government is telling patients with advanced melanoma that they can wait for a treatment while they decide how much money they want to spend in the next health budget.
“On average one person dies every day from advanced melanoma so more Kiwis with cancer will suffer while the Government stalls.
“The Government should adopt the Cancer Society’s recommendations for an early access scheme for Pharmac that would enable it to fund life-saving drugs like Keytruda for patients who have no other meaningful treatment available.
“The Australian research, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, has found Australian melanoma rates are declining but the number of cases in New Zealand are increasing.
“It’s time for Jonathan Coleman to set up an early access scheme for Pharmac so there’s fair treatment available for Kiwis suffering from advanced melanoma,” says Annette King.