Cancer care advocate Malcolm Mulholland, Cancer Society welcome Pharmac announcement

Cancer care advocate Malcolm Mulholland says he has been inundated with messages of excitement and rejoice following news Pharmac is considering funding three new drugs.

On Wednesday, Pharmac - the country's drug funding agency - announced it is considering funding Alecensa, which treats lung cancer, Kadcyla, which treats breast cancer, and Ocrevus for relapsing multiple sclerosis.

The agency is now seeking feedback on that proposal, and according to Mulholland - who has been a staunch advocate for greater cancer care and whose wife, Wiki, has cancer - he's had hundreds of positive messages.

"Our message box with Facebook, emails, and phones just went off the hook yesterday. We must have had 500 messages from different people around the country just rejoicing," Mulholland told The AM Show.

He says the drugs would likely prolong the lives of sufferers by years, but purchasing the drugs at the moment is an unrealistic option due to the high price tag. However, while it is possible, it's not likely the drugs would save sufferers' lives directly.

"Probably not as a direct result of being administered the drug, but potentially if you can keep a person alive for longer then the chances are a cure could come along."

Although he says the news is exciting, Mulholland wishes it could have come earlier.

"We've lost women along the way. There have been 19 metavivors that have passed on. Another group we are connected to, Sweet Louise, have lost over 150 women, and many of their lives would have been changed through the funding of Kancyla."

Pharmac's announcement has been welcomed by the Cancer Society, but it also expressed disappointment with the long period of time it has taken to get to this point.

"We congratulate Pharmac on these announcements. However it has taken two years to reach a decision on TDM1 (Kadcyla) and Alectinib has been funded for over a year in the UK," Cancer Society medical director Dr Chris Jackson said.

"During that time, many people have mortgaged their homes or spent their kiwisavers to gain access, or have gone without and had their lives shortened as a result of a slow negotiating process."

The Cancer Society also acknowledged cancer patients who had fronted on the issue and advocated for change.

Pharmac's decision came only just over a week after the National Party announced it would establish a national cancer agency if elected, while the Government is funding more radiotherapy machines.

The Government is also expected to announce a wider cancer action plan later this month.

Feedback on Pharmac's proposed funding should be provided by August 21.