7 Aug 2008

Cancer drug decision due

6:09 am on 7 August 2008

Pharmac is to announce on Thursday whether it will fund longer courses of Herceptin.

The State drug buying agency has consulted on whether it should fund a year of Herceptin for women with early aggressive breast cancer, rather than only nine weeks.

The High Court ordered Pharmac to consult on whether it should extend treatment to 12 months, which is the standard in more than 30 countries.

The agency received 300 submissions on its refusal of funding for a 12 month course of the drug, which it believes may not be any more effective than a short course.

The consultation process resulted in a recommendation to the Pharmac board last week.

Radio New Zealand's health reporter says the announcement comes amid increased pressure on Pharmac, with the National Party saying the longer treatment should be funded, and the drug supplier Roche saying it's cut the price.