The Minister of Health must find some time in his diary to meet the melanoma petitioners tomorrow, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.
“Jonathan Coleman has so far declined to meet Leisa Renwick, a melanoma patient, with the excuse that he has back to back meetings.
“I would suggest the Minister has another look at his diary as these people don’t have the time to be mucked around.
“He created this crisis by health cuts of $1.7 billion and he is refusing to face up to the consequences of seriously underfunding Pharmac.
“The combined petitions to fund Keytruda have now been signed by over 45,000 Kiwis. They will be presented to Parliament at lunchtime tomorrow.
“The petitioners have worked hard to make the argument for Keytruda as a first-line treatment for advanced Melanoma sufferers. They deserve more courtesy.
“Currently, there is no alternative treatment available in New Zealand for patients with advanced melanoma.
“Labour believes that Pharmac must fund Keytruda on a temporary basis until more data is available.
“The Cancer Society believes that the new generation drugs such as Keytruda are a ‘quantum leap’ over current melanoma treatments,” says Annette King.