Please sign the petitions

May 4, 2019

Eight health groups are combining to seek more funding for Pharmac to fund drugs that extend lives or improve their quality.

They’re urging people to sign their petitions:

A range of health groups are calling on members of the public to sign petitions that will presented to Parliament on 7 May. They call for medicines to be funded that will help New Zealanders live longer, healthier lives and reduce extreme suffering.

“We need kiwis to support other kiwis who often can’t stand up for themselves because they are too unwell,” Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition committee member Louise Malone says.

“This is a real opportunity for people to say to the Government that the time for proper funding of medicines is now.”

The groups will march to Parliament, starting at Wellington Library then to PHARMAC for a candle lighting ceremony in commemoration of those who have gone before. Once they reach Parliament, the petitions will be accepted by MPs.

The petitions call for dramatically improved medicines funding to provide the care that people with a range of serious illnesses need.

“The medicines are desperately needed,” Lung Foundation New Zealand CEO Philip Hope says.

“If everyone knew the suffering that people go through with these diseases, most wouldn’t hesitate to sign the petitions.”

The groups are Lung Foundation New Zealand, Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition, Ovarian Cancer New Zealand, Myeloma New Zealand, Pompe New Zealand and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia Advocates New Zealand.

 

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Among the charities involved is Ovarian Cancer New Zealand.

Each year in New Zealand 350 women are diagnosed and 220 die from ovarian cancer. It’s the second biggest contributor to women’s cancer deaths from female specific cancers. Approximately one in 70 women will develop it in their lifetime.

New Zealand women with the disease don’t get access to the same drugs that are funded in other countries.

This is the motivation for a petition asking  Pharmac to fund Lynparza and Avastin for ovarian cancer, and also urging the Minister of Health to provide additional funding to Pharmac to enable the drugs to be subsidised.

Each year [in New Zealand] 350 women are diagnosed and 220 die from ovarian cancer. It’s the second biggest contributor to women’s cancer deaths from female specific cancers. In women with ovarian cancer linked to the BRCA gene, Lynparza can extend progression free survival by about one year and is reimbursed by Governments in Australia, UK, and most OECD countries. In women with advanced disease Avastin extends PFS by 6 months. . . 

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed late because the symptoms aren’t recognised.

Every woman, and those who care about them, should familiarise themselves with the symptoms.

Potential symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal/back/pelvic pain
  • Eating less and feeling fuller
  • Needing to pee more often or urgently
  • Bowel changes
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Painful intercause 
  • Unintentional weight loss

If women experience these for two weeks or longer they should tell their doctor. Ovarian cancer is detected with a blood test (CA-125) and ultrasound. 

The petition for better funding to treat ovarian cancer is here.

The other petitions are:

Breast cancer

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Lung cancer and Non small cell lung cancer

Myeloma

Multiple myeloma

Pompe disease

These organisations have recognised that insufficient money it the major reason Pharmac doesn’t fund treatments available in other countries which is why they’re asking that more is allocated.


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