New Zealand Labour Party

Health cuts at heart of cancer drug decision

John Key has confirmed budget cuts are behind a decision not to fund a life-saving cancer drug, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“The Prime Minister admitted in an interview this morning that Keytruda, which is considered by specialists to be a break-through treatment for advanced melanoma, could be funded if health was allocated more.

“This is the same man who has not batted an eyelid as his Government took the machete to the health budget – slashing it by $1.7 billion since 2010.

“Pharmac asked for $11 million this year to invest in new medicines, less than half the cost of the flag referendum. It got $5 million. 

“It is heart-breaking reading correspondence I have received from people with melanoma who are desperate for treatment or from people who know someone with it and are begging for help.

“That shouldn’t be happening in a country that once prided itself on its world-leading health system.

 “John Key needs to rethink priorities and fund health so it can deliver the best possible care to every Kiwi,” Andrew Little says.