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New Zealanders To Benefit From Newly Funded Lung Cancer Treatment

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
New Zealanders To Benefit From Newly Funded Lung Cancer Treatment

New Zealanders fighting the country's leading cause of cancer death will benefit following PHARMAC's announcement today of their decision to fund Roche's Tarceva® (erlotinib), a treatment that extends survival and improves quality of life for advanced lung cancer sufferers 1.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and second highest cause of cancer death in women in New Zealand, responsible for over 1500 deaths per year 2. In Maori, lung cancer rates are three times higher than in non-Maori 3. The most common form, non-small-cell lung cancer, does not have obvious symptoms and is often not diagnosed until the disease is well advanced 4.

PHARMAC announced today that as of October 1st, 2010, New Zealanders will have access to the oral cancer treatment Tarceva 5.

It is expected that eventually around 100 people per year will benefit from the decision, which sees Tarceva funded as a second-line treatment following chemotherapy, for those with advanced, non-small-cell lung cancer that cannot be removed through surgery 5.

Tarceva specifically targets cancer cells, decreasing their survival and growth 6. Tarceva is the only oral cancer treatment to have shown a significant improvement in symptoms, quality of life, and survival in people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer 1,7.

People can benefit from these improvements without many of the side effects associated with standard chemotherapies 7. As Tarceva is an oral treatment replacing chemotherapy that is normally provided by intravenous infusion, this funding is expected to also reduce demand on hospital cancer services.

Stuart Knight, Managing Director of Roche Products (New Zealand) Ltd, says "The company is very pleased that the treatment is being made available. Because Tarceva is a tablet, people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer will be able to spend more time with their families rather than in hospital receiving treatment."

Registered in New Zealand since 2006, the treatment is also funded in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

For consumer medicine information about this treatment please see Further information on Tarceva can be found at

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