Well known Kiwi businessman taking unfunded drug

  • 12/12/2015
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Sir Douglas Myers, one of New Zealand's best known businessmen, is taking the cancer drug Keytruda, which has been at the centre of a funding debate.

Sir Douglas, 77, lives in London and is funding the drug and other treatment for advanced cancer privately, the Weekend Herald reports.

The New Zealand government's drug-buying agency Pharmac has announced it won't be funding Keytruda because data about its effectiveness is inconclusive.

That's prompted calls for the government to override Pharmac's decision.

"That would not be the right thing to do," Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman told Paul Henry last week.

Sir Douglas was probably New Zealand's most spectacular businessman of the 20th century, turning Lion Breweries into the largest trans-tasman brewer and a world-class company, according to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.

Born to money, Sir Douglas turned his headstart in life to an unassailable lead, becoming the richest and most successful business leader following his takeover of Lion Nathan in 1981.

A passionate proponent of free-market reform, he chaired the New Zealand Business Roundtable from 1990 to 1997.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2008, which metastasised five years later.

He has participated in campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer and funds many philanthropic projects in New Zealand.

He will be in New Zealand for Christmas with his family.