A National Government will fund an independent Cancer Agency and set up a $200 million fund dedicated to cancer drugs, National Party Leader Simon Bridges says.
“New Zealanders shouldn’t have to pack up their lives and go to other countries for cancer treatment. New Zealanders shouldn’t have to mortgage their houses, set up a Givealittle page or take out massive loans to be able to afford medicines which are funded in other countries.
“That’s why today we are committing an extra $200 million over four years for cancer medicines. Not a week goes by where I don’t hear from a New Zealander who is suffering from cancer but the medicines they need aren’t funded in New Zealand but are in other countries.
“The fund will be dedicated to cancer drugs. The previous National Government boosted annual investment in PHARMAC by $220m over nine years. That meant around 820,000 New Zealanders benefited from extra investment in new PHARMAC funded medicines. The current Government hasn’t even invested enough to keep up with population growth or inflation.
“The sad reality is that most New Zealand families will be affected by cancer. Cancer doesn’t discriminate when it chooses its victims and people shouldn’t be discriminated against when it comes to treatment depending on their postcode.
“So I’m also committing to a National Cancer Agency. This would be independent of the Ministry of Health and will focus on greater accountability and consistency of access across New Zealand.
“The agency will be involved in prevention, screening and treatment. New Zealand is a world leader in research and innovation, so the centre will also facilitate research so that in the future we can prevent cancer and treat it more effectively.
“Cancer is our single biggest cause of death. Most of us will have some experience of it either personally or through a relative or friend. When a New Zealander is going through what will be the most difficult time in their lives, their country should be there for them.”