Kindness and priorities

The announcement of development handouts to Māori in the regions coincide with Waitangi celebrations. See Waitangi – inclusion, protest and handouts.

Perhaps there will be a big announcement on cancer drugs for World Cancer Day (which is actually today, 4 February) – but the Government says that it is up to Pharmac (except for when the Government intervenes but they didn’t say that).

1 News: World-leading breast cancer expert calls on Pharmac to make two new breast cancer drugs more affordable

Pressure is mounting on Pharmac to make two new breast cancer drugs more affordable, as a world-leading expert says New Zealand is falling behind other developed countries in its treatment of advanced breast cancer.

Auckland woman Wiki Mullholland has been pushing for better treatment of advanced breast cancer since she was diagnosed in May.

The mother of three is lobbying Pharmac to fund new medicines Ibrance and Kadcyla.

“Advanced breast cancer is all about treatment. We need to know what’s coming next and for me, Ibrance is next,” she said.

“It’s going to cost $7000 a month for me and my family to source that.”

Now, a world authority on terminal breast cancer, oncologist Dr Fatima Cardoso is supporting the cause.

Ms Cardoso said, “The medium survival of patients with this disease in New Zealand is about half of what it is in other developed countries. From those results, it is not good, and it needs clearly to be improved”.

The average survival after a terminal breast cancer diagnosis here is sixteen months.

“It is, for the moment, unfortunately, an incurable disease, but it is treatable and with the correct treatment, people can live for several years with a good quality of life,” she said.

Pharmac says Ibrance and Kadcyla have been recommended for funding, but for a limited group of patients.

A decision is expected by the end of the month.

Calls for Prime Ministerial kindness have been made before.

Newshub (August 2018):  Duncan Garner’s desperate plea to Jacinda Ardern over cancer funding

Duncan Garner has made an emotional appeal to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to review Pharmac and prevent unnecessary cancer deaths.

Cancer Society’s Dr Chris Jackson told Newshub New Zealand is lagging behind and the matter needs immediate attention.

“What’s clear is that 2500 New Zealanders died from cancer whose lives could have been saved if they were treated in Australia over the course of the last five years,” he said.

Stuff (December 2018):  Teen pleads for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to step in and cut strings to cancer drug funding

The teenage daughter of a Palmerston North woman with advanced breast cancer has written an open letter to the prime minister, pleading for the Government to make medicine more accessible.

Molly Rose Malton Mulholland, 17, is the daughter of Wiki Mulholland, 40, who has metastatic breast cancer, which is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It has spread to her bones.

Molly decided to write an open letter to Jacinda Ardern, begging for Government intervention after the cancer treatments subcommittee from Pharmac put forward their recommendations for the funding applications for two life-prolonging drugs, Ibrance and Kadcyla.

The subcommittee recommended the drugs be funded, but with strings attached. Ibrance would not be funded for women who had already received hormonal treatment, and Kadcyla could be accessed only by those who hadn’t been treated with another drug, Perjeta.

The Government has stepped in on regional Māori development funding, so perhaps they could do similar on drug funding. Or, where Pharmac makes the decisions, on Pharmac funding.

Labour health spokesperson Annette King in 2015: Pharmac’s underfunding is costing Kiwi lives

It is easy to point the finger at “political interference” when it comes to the tough decisions Pharmac is increasingly having to make around funding life-saving healthcare for Kiwis.

But nothing screams ‘political interference’ like the underfunding of our most successful health model.

Allowing Pharmac to fund life-saving cancer treatments in the short term – as countries overseas currently do – will offer hope without the agency being tied to a long-term funding programme.

Labour is proposing a pool of money be set aside to fund these innovative medicines for a short period, say two years, where there is little alternative treatment available. Pharmac’s model would remain untouched, New Zealanders would be able to access new drugs as those in Australia and Great Britain currently do, and money would go where it matters most – into saving Kiwi lives.

I get it that delivering for Māori is important to Ardern and her Government.  Last year at Waitangi Ardern said “When we return in one year, in three years, I ask you to ask us what we have done for you”.

But people suffering from cancer may nor be alive in three years, or one year.

Where’s the kindness and empathy for people who are sick and dying?

 

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31 Comments

  1. Pink David

     /  February 4, 2019

    Who thought it was a good idea to put the government in charge of ‘wellbeing’?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  February 4, 2019

      Not in charge of wellbeing ? Where did you get that idea – other from Farrars prognostications
      “We want New Zealand to be the first place in the world where our Budget is not presented simply under the umbrella of pure economic measures, and often inadequate ones at that, but one that demonstrates the overall wellbeing of our country and its people-Ardern

      isnt Wellbeing worth doing rather than always casing ‘GDP’ at a national scale.

      Reply
  2. Corky

     /  February 4, 2019

    ”Where’s the kindness and empathy for people who are sick and dying?”

    Collateral damage from a Labour campaign to look after their demographic.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  February 4, 2019

      Nothing new there. Some policies & funding looking after your demographic are the norm for political parties in power. They’re what gets them re-elected.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  February 4, 2019

      “campaign to look after their demographic.”

      As opposed to spending $950 mill for a non voting 45% share of Chorus, who we then lend even more money that that so they can build a fibre network.
      Which demographic is the biggest users of fibre data ?

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 4, 2019

        The fibre rollout has been a raging success and has benefitted all communities.
        Probably the most disadvantaged group from the policy is Chorus, who underquoted and have had to take a haircut on profits to meet their obligations.

        Reply
  3. Duker

     /  February 4, 2019

    There is money for cancer drugs, but not for every favour of the month drug that comes along and maybe gives on average 3 months extra life , or maybe not for many whos cancer is not that type.
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/381591/some-cancer-drugs-with-a-huge-price-don-t-work
    “Professor Richard Sullivan, the director of the Institute of Cancer Policy at Kings College in London, has been in New Zealand for a conference.
    He said many of the most expensive cancer drugs simply did not do what they said they would.
    For example, some could shrink the cancer itself but do nothing to extend the life of the patient.
    “Some drugs are coming with enormous uncertainty about what sort of benefit they really deliver to patients … but huge price tags.”

    Coddington used to be an ACT Mp, back when they wanted to demolish the public heath system

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  February 4, 2019

      Coddington used to be the squeeze of Alistair Taylor of the ‘Little Red Schoolbook’…Who’s Who(and who hasn’t paid)and indulgent ‘wine taster’ …fame.

      Reply
    • Pink David

       /  February 4, 2019

      You make it sound like empathy is not a good tool for making policy and that facts are more important.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  February 4, 2019

        Do you work at an hospice, or is just being on twitter ’empathy’ these days

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 4, 2019

          She was a one term wonder. She was a taker; she was carried by the other Act MPs when she wanted time off for a (Nuffield ?) whatever it was, but was not willing to help anyone else out. I only met her once. I was going to an Act conference and had the cheek to get into a lift with her and her friend. I was given the old up-down-up look and then she rudely turned her back on me 😀 If I’d been a prospective member, I’d have taken the lift back down. Needless to say that she was the only one who was like this.

          Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 4, 2019

      It’s much better when medical companies visit your offices, donate and lobby and then the leader of your party starts a crusade using dodgy facts to railroad the Government of the day into adding Keytruda to the Pharmac roster…isn’t it?

      “Andrew Little dines with drug company executives months before adopting Keytruda stance”
      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/77406691/andrew-little-dines-with-drug-company-executives-months-before-adopting-keytruda-stance

      Reply
  4. Duker

     /  February 4, 2019

    There has been real research done instead of that of Coddingtons opinion and her privileged lifestyle
    https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/tools-resources/research/mind-the-gap/
    Mind the gap – an analysis of cancer medicines in New Zealand and Australia
    <b.The findings of the study showed:

    There are 89 cancer medicines that are funded in both New Zealand and Australia.
    There are 13 cancer medicines that New Zealanders have access to, that Australians don’t.
    There are 35 cancer medicines that Australia has funded, that we don’t.

    Out of the 35 not funded in New Zealand, only three provide real, meaningful benefit. PHARMAC has already funded one of these, pertuzumab for breast cancer, and is considering funding applications for the two others.

    A further 17 medicines provide only moderate or poor benefits, and five potentially caused harm or worse health outcomes compared to currently funded treatments in New Zealand.

    Reply
  5. David

     /  February 4, 2019

    If she hadnt cancelled drilling for oil NZ would have a smaller carbon footprint and a ton more royalties to pay for drugs in the future. We would also have a smaller balance of payments deficit therefore a higher dollar making imported drugs more affordable.
    Joined up thinking or virtue signalling, ticking the voting ballot has consequences.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  February 4, 2019

      How can we be getting royalties for oil that hasn’t been & won’t be explored or drilled for?

      Reply
      • David

         /  February 4, 2019

        That was my point she has banned it so we are foregoing the royalties and taxes and the jobs while making the environment worse and taking away an income stream that could fund better healthcare for kiwis.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  February 4, 2019

          Taxes /
          Do you think the taxpayers should be paying the farmers carbon taxes instead of you know taking that burden themselves. We pay the carbon taxes for petrol for power etc.
          Now we have to pay the huge costs for M Bovis because the cattle control regulations passed in 2008 hadnt been implemented by 2017.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  February 4, 2019

          So your argument is we are missing out on income, royalties, taxes and jobs that don’t yet even exist. Is that correct?

          Reply
          • David

             /  February 4, 2019

            No, there are jobs and workers and taxes now but with the regime Ardern implemented the oil industry will disappear in NZ. I think it was around 3 billion they pay into the treasury each year at present and that will slowly go down to zero while there appears little is being done about demand.

            Reply
    • Duker

       /  February 4, 2019

      No productive well has been cancelled . All that has happened is an auction has been cancelled – and auction for the option to explore in some small areas not already claimed for exploration and only if they are not in Taranaki itself.
      How do we have a smaller carbon footprint if had had an auction, which may lead to exploration and a tiny chance of finding commercial amount of oil or gas.
      Its a complete nonsense statement by an ignorant person . No methanex wont making methanol from coal – they will just move the processing equipment to another source of natural gas- if NZ no longer has enough natural gas. Anyway we can import natural gas from Australia at cheaper world prices- they have massive export facilities in Qld.

      Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  February 4, 2019

    More kindness and another pryoridee…

    $82m slated for regional employment initiative from Provincial Growth Fund
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the formation of a new regional unemployment scheme funded with $82m from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)

    Sixty million dollars of the investment will mostly be focused in five “surge” regions that face high unemployment, low wages and low productivity when compared to the rest of the country: Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatū-Whanganui.

    The money will go towards a set of hubs in those regions which bring together government services in order to help both employers and employees, and two already-existing government programmes focused on Māori and Pacifica.

    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the point that the country as a whole was doing quite well economically – meaning these regions should not be left behind.

    “New Zealand’s economy is growing and unemployment is at its lowest in a decade. Regional New Zealand deserves to share in the economic prosperity of a strong economy, and this funding will equip them with the skills and capability to succeed,” Jones said.
    More…
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/110348003/82m-slated-for-regional-employment-initiative-from-provincial-growth-fund

    Reply
    • David

       /  February 4, 2019

      Meanwhile in the South Island we cant get staff for love nor money, Immigration are on a go slow and the dole is being paid to people where there are few opportunities so instead of saying “hey why dont you move” we will throw a hundred million to create fake jobs while proper non subsidised go vacant.
      Economic geniuses now want the temporary migrant scheme opened up for immigrants to plant trees, these guys send home 80% of their wages. Arrrgh what a bloody mess.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  February 4, 2019

        “Meanwhile in the South Island we cant get staff for love nor money, ”

        I bet you are offering neither. I think it could be better if you relocated your business to where the staff are ? or does that only apply to others not yourself.

        Should business get more customers as ‘a right’ too.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 4, 2019

          Some business can’t be relocated !

          Reply
        • David

           /  February 4, 2019

          Bit difficult to move a Queenstown hotel or the Christchurch rebuild just so some unemployed person can carry on sponging without the hassle of moving to where the work is.

          Reply
  7. artcroft

     /  February 4, 2019

    Jacinda is hoping they’ll be dead by the time 2020 rolls around.

    Reply
  8. PartisanZ

     /  February 4, 2019

    Meantime, on the subject of drugs, I collected two information sheets from the Pharmacy today … because their incredulous, paradoxical titles fair slapped me in the face … slightly dislodging my brain …

    REDUCING HARM FROM HIGH-RISK MEDICINES … Warfarin … & Methotrexate …

    In this context, I comprehend the word “from” …

    But am I legally allowed to grow a few cannabis plants in my garden?

    Reply

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