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Brain Tumour Patients To Gain Greater Access To Drug

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Brain Tumour Patients To Gain Greater Access To Drug

Drug-buying agency Pharmac is set to provide greater access to an expensive drug used to treat brain cancer.

From December 1, Temozolomide, which costs about $30,000 per treatment cycle, will be available to newly diagnosed patients with anaplastic astrocytoma.

Since 2005, only those with the most advanced forms of brain tumours, or glioblastoma multiforme, have been eligible for the drug.

Pharmac medical director Peter Moodie today said a number of doctors had sought wider access to Temozolomide and the agency had sought advice from a committee of cancer specialists.

"Their view was that anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma multiforme were clinically very similar, and so the funded access criteria should be widened to accommodate both," he said.

Other applications such as increasing the number of funded treatment cycles and funding for relapse cases were declined.

"The committee did not consider there to be sufficient evidence to support widening funding for these other uses," Dr Moodie said.

"Temozolomide is still an expensive treatment ... so we do need to ensure that this spending is targeted at the people most likely to benefit, based on the available evidence."

Dr Moodie said 15 or 16 people would require the drug each year.

NZPA

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