Govt will not fund melanoma wonder drug - minister

  • 11/12/2015
Jonathan Coleman (3 News)
Jonathan Coleman (3 News)

Health minister Jonathan Coleman joined Paul Henry this morning to discuss Pharmac's decision to not fund melanoma drug Pembrolizumab.

Mr Coleman says it would not be appropriate for the Government to step in and overrule Pharmac's decision.

"In the end it's very important that Pharmac can make those decisions at arm's length from politicians."

The minister says Pharmac are in some "complex commercial decisions" around which melanoma drug to fund and he says there are a "whole lot" of drugs in that category that are being looked at.

Pembrolizumab is funded in Australia and Britain which Mr Coleman says "may not be the right decision" for those countries.

He says Pharmac have to balance effectiveness and price when deciding which medicines to fund.

The drug has been shown to reduce tumour size in 70 percent of patients and completely eliminated it in up to 10 percent.

Watch the video for the full interview.