Labour promises to fund melanoma drug

  • 04/12/2015
Judith Collins and Annette King (Paul Henry)
Judith Collins and Annette King (Paul Henry)

Melanoma patients are currently paying up to $300,000 for a two year course of Pembrolizumab, but Pharmac has made it a ‘low’ priority for funding.

National MP Judith Collins and Labour MP Annette King joined Paul Henry to discuss the issue.

"I think just wait and watch this space. Because, frankly, it is the same issue. Pharmac have a limited amount of money, they have got so much they spend. They do a great job. They are independent. But every now and then something comes along and you've just got to say, 'Something has to give on this'.

Labour's health spokeswoman Annette King said her party would fund the drug if voted in at the next election

"What price life? We would fund it," Ms King said.

This is the fourth time funding has been declined for a melanoma treatment by Pharmac.

It's a huge blow for melanoma patients, some of whom are paying up to $300,000 to receive the drug for two years.

It is state-funded in Australia and the UK.

Nearly one Kiwi a day dies from Melanoma.

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

Watch the video for the full interview.