RNZ

Upset cancer patient calls Sean over Pharmac planning to stop funding lung cancer drug Keytruda

Audio 23/04/2020

News broke recently that Pharmac has frozen plans to fund a lung cancer drug, Keytruda, that would have helped 1400 patients a year, saying it no longer can afford to make the investment.

The move has dashed hopes that Keytruda would soon be publicly funded for lung cancer - New Zealand's biggest cancer killer (read more about this story from RNZ via Newshub).

One of those 1400 patients is Magic Talk listener Graham, who phoned Sean Plunket during his show and is pretty pissed off over the news.

Have a listen to the audio below. 

Chief executive Sarah Fitt told RNZ that Pharmac was concerned about rising drug prices worldwide in the COVID-19 pandemic and that it could not commit to funding the drug now - but still hoped to in the future.

Lung cancer patients and their advocates are devastated and said they had been given false hope.

Keytruda is available in New Zealand but patients must fund it themselves.