PHARMAC confirms new breast cancer medicine to be funded
4 March 2020
New Zealanders with advanced breast cancer will be able to access palbociclib (marketed as Ibrance) from 1 April this year, which could stop or slow down the progression of their cancer.
“The feedback we received on palbociclib during the consultation phase was overwhelmingly positive,” says PHARMAC’s Chief Executive Sarah Fitt.
“We are delighted that we have been able to come to an agreement with the supplier Pfizer to fund both first line and second or subsequent lines of treatment.”
First line treatment is when a patient has not had any other treatment for that disease before. Second or subsequent line means the patient will have had one or more prior treatment to treat their disease.
PHARMAC included funding for second or subsequent line treatments following an application from the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition.
“This was not in the original application from the supplier, but we recognised the importance of previously-treated patients being able to receive treatment with palbociclib. We are pleased we were able to negotiate this extension to funding with Pfizer,” explains Ms Fitt.
It is estimated that over 2,000 New Zealanders will be eligible for the first and second line treatment in the first year of funding, and up to 950 New Zealanders eligible over each subsequent year.
Funding palbociclib takes the number of new cancer medicines approved for funding this financial year to five. Cancer medicines already funded this financial year (from 1 July 2019) are:
- alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer
- trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) for HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer
- venetoclax (Venclexta) for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
- olaparib (Lynparza) for BRCA-mutated relapsed ovarian cancer, and
- fulvestrant for advanced breast cancer.
PHARMAC has also widened access to bortezomib for myeloma and pembrolizumab/nivolumab for melanoma and listed dexrazoxane for cardiac protection with chemotherapy.
“We work hard to negotiate some of the best prices for medicines in the world. We aim to give people access to clinically effective and innovative medicines at a price that is fair and affordable, which is in line with what the country's taxpayers expect us to do,” concludes Ms Fitt.
Last updated: 5 March 2020