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Cancer Society welcomes landmark investment in modern medicines

Chief Executive of the Cancer Society of New Zealand, Dr Rachael Hart, welcomed today’s announcement by the Government of significant investment in modern medicines via Pharmac.

"This is a momentous day for New Zealand. We warmly welcome this initiative on behalf of cancer patients who have been waiting, in some cases for years, to access cutting-edge cancer drugs here in Aotearoa New Zealand. The $604 million uplift for medicines over the next four years will significantly enhance the availability of life-saving treatments, providing new hope to many."

"This announcement is a direct response to the persistent calls from the cancer and wider health sector for increased access to modern treatments. The comprehensive funding plan, which includes an estimated 26 new cancer treatments covering various types of cancer, reflects the concerted efforts and advocacy of our sector."

"While this is indeed great news for people with cancer, it underscores the urgent need for further reforms within Pharmac to ensure this situation is never repeated. Particularly crucial is the establishment of a more efficient and transparent model and budget allocation for new, life-saving medicines. Prior to this announcement, 140 medicines were on the ‘Options for Investment’ list, approved for use but unfunded, leaving patients without access to these critical treatments. We must ensure this list is not merely reduced temporarily but managed effectively going forward."

Dr Hart emphasised the importance of a coordinated effort to support the increased demand for these medicines. "It is essential that Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora simultaneously addresses the infrastructure required to administer these treatments. Without the necessary facilities and healthcare professionals, the availability of modern cancer medicines would be a hollow victory."

This announcement is the culmination of years of tireless advocacy and commitment by clinicians, NGOs, and countless families who have faced the devastating impact of limited access to essential medicines—some of whom are no longer here to see this progress. Their efforts have not been in vain, and today marks a significant milestone in the fight for better cancer care in New Zealand.

Read the Government Announcement here


For more information, please contact
Maria De Cort | Senior Communications Advisor | Cancer Society of New Zealand
021 991 952