Nancy Brunning's death: Calls for Pharmac reform

Nancy Brunning.
Nancy Brunning. Photo credit: Getty

There are calls for Pharmac to be reformed after the death of actress Nancy Brunning.

The Shortland Street star passed away on Saturday, aged 48, after fighting an undisclosed illness.

Her death was announced online by family friend Stacey Morrison on Sunday morning.

"With a heavy heart, I post this message on behalf of Nancy's whānau ... our māmā, our sister, our aunty, our friend, she has followed the call of her tīpuna."

Earlier this year, friends of Brunning launched a crowdfunding campaign to help her pay for a non-subsidised life-prolonging drug.

Malcolm Mulholland of Patient Voice Aotearoa says Brunning should be remembered not just for her successful acting career, but also for her support for the push to reform Pharmac and gain funding for more life-extending drugs.

"Sadly, Nan was one of the many thousands of New Zealanders who desperately needed life-extending medication and was forced to have to fundraise in order to prolong her life,' says Mulholland. 

"Nan was passionate about the need to change Pharmac so that others, like herself, would not have the worry of paying for expensive drugs when what time they had was so precious."

A petition by Patient Voice Aotearoa is pushing for Pharmac to be reformed and have its budget doubled.

Brunning found fame as nurse Jaki Manu in long-running Kiwi soap, as well as appearing in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted and Mahana.

In October the Government announced the drug-buying agency would be getting a $40 million boost, with funding becoming available for the drug Alecensa, which fights advanced non-small cell lung cancer, and the breast cancer drug Kadcyla.

A new treatment for multiple sclerosis will also be funded, and access to respiratory disease treatment Esbriet is being widened.

Recently, Pharmac has come under pressure from multiple petitions urging them to fund more drugs.

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