Unfunded chemo drugs could be administered by DHBs

If you get cancer in New Zealand and have the means you might be able to pay for chemotherapy drugs that aren’t funded here but are funded in other countries.

Paying for the drugs is expensive, what makes it even harder for many to afford, is paying for them to be administered.

National wants that to change:

The National Party wants to see the law changed so that Kiwis can have their unfunded chemotherapy drugs administered in DHBs and cover the cost of this, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“At the moment cancer medicines unfunded by PHARMAC can only be administered in expensive private cancer facilities at a further cost to the patient.

“So not only are patients mortgaging their homes, taking out loans and using up all their savings to buy their desperately needed medicines that PHARMAC won’t fund, they then have to pay tens of thousands of dollars on top of this to have these medicines administered.

“Transport for these people is a further hurdle and I have been contacted by patients who have had to travel many hours past their local DHB in order to access an expensive private facility.

“These are New Zealanders who are already in the incredibly heart breaking situation of having cancer and their chemotherapy drug isn’t funded. Making these New Zealanders then pay the costs of administering their medicines doesn’t seem fair to the National Party.

“National is proposing a law change that would allow DHBs to administer, and cover the cost of administering, day-stay cancer medicines where they are not funded by PHARMAC.

“Many New Zealanders have made huge sacrifices in order to get the treatment they need, it’s time for the State to partner with our most vulnerable and give them the best possible chance to manage their cancer.

“A few hours in an armchair in a day-stay chemotherapy unit pales in comparison to the tens of thousands, often hundreds of thousands, of dollars some people are paying for their unfunded chemotherapy drugs.

“When you see how much of an impact this would have on our vulnerable Kiwis, it’s a no brainer.

“The National Party is calling on the Government to support this law change and help make life a little easier for those Kiwis facing significant medical bills while trying to beat cancer.”

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is difficult.

Knowing that if you lived in another country, Australia, for example, you could get treatment that isn’t funded here, makes it even harder.

Paying for that treatment is very, every expensive; and too expensive for most patients. Even if medical insurance covers the cost of the drugs, it often doesn’t cover the cost of administering them.

Funding DHBs to administer chemo drugs that people fund privately, would relieve some of the financial burden for them, and could make a lifesaving difference.

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