Mother with terminal cancer grateful Government will amend bill that would've made her a criminal for importing life-saving medication

A Gisborne mother with terminal cancer is grateful the Government will amend a bill that would've made her a criminal for importing life-saving medication.

Theresa Zame's a fighter, fighting for the Government to listen all the while fighting for her life.

Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer last year she's been importing an unfunded drug called Tagrix.

It delays the onset of her cancer while relieving the symptoms.

"It's not only life-extending but it's life-changing," Zame said.

She and hundreds of other patients protested at Parliament a week ago because incoming changes to our medicine legislation would've made the importation of un-funded drugs illegal.

"It's going to turn some of our most vulnerable in New Zealand into criminals and that's just not okay," Zame said. 

But it seems the Government has listened. It will make changes to the Therapeutic Products Bill to allow importation with appropriate safeguards.

"It's such an amazing accomplishment by everyone that's involved and something that we can really be proud of," Zame said.

"But we shouldn't have had to be here in the first place."

There were concerns the Bill would also ban people from using pages like Givealittle to fundraise for medicine.

In a statement, Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said the Government had no intention to restrict that and adds that this Bill will contribute to a health system New Zealanders expect and deserve.

But health advocates say there are still some problems with the Bill.

"These issues could've been easily ironed out if the Government had have consulted properly in the first place," chair of Patient Voice Aotearoa Malcolm Mulholland said.

Mulholland is concerned about changes to clinical trials and the removal of a key section that could prevent thousands of people from getting the medication they need. 

"Those are the two issues that I really want to see resolved moving forward and until they are resolved we are urging politicians to push pause," Mulholland said.  

But Wednesday's small win is a step in the right direction.

"So they've listened but they need to listen more," Mulholland said. 

And until then these people will keep fighting for the lifesaving drugs they need.