Melanoma patients are being handed business cards for private cancer clinics as they leave hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.
“I have been told by one patient that she was handed a card for a private Auckland cancer clinic, after being told her local hospital could do no more.
“Why can an expensive private clinic offer hope when the public health system admits defeat?
“This patient is now in remission after undergoing private treatment and spending $34,000 dollars on Keytruda.
“Melanoma care has now become an issue of equity. The only chance that some people have to prolong or save their lives is to mortgage their homes.
“This is exacerbated by the failure of New Zealand to have a frontline melanoma treatment with Pharmac’s continued refusal to fund Keytruda.
“This refusal runs counter to the Cancer Society’s judgement that these new drugs are a ‘quantum leap’ over current melanoma treatments.
“Labour believes that Pharmac must fund Keytruda on a temporary basis until more data is available.
“The Government must take the blame for this lamentable situation when it cut the health budget by $1.7 billion,” says Annette King.