30 July 2008
NEWS: Herceptin: What's it going to take?
National Party Leader John Key and Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue are urging the Government to free up money to fund 12 months of Herceptin.
Dr Blue says that as a result of a High Court directive in April, the Pharmac Board is meeting today to review its decision not to fund the drug for 12 months.
"We've always said from the outset that we were concerned that Pharmac's entrenched stance in funding nine weeks only was financial, and not based on best evidence.
"The evidence supporting 12 months is completely sound, while the evidence supporting the shorter programme is weak.
"Our very own Medsafe has even refused to register the short course due to a lack of clinical evidence," says Dr Blue, a former breast physician.
"For more than two years the Pharmac Board has resolutely ignored the opinions of cancer specialists, including their own cancer specialist committee.
"The irony is that we were first off the block to register 12 months Herceptin in March 2006.
"Instead of progress, New Zealand women have had to watch as one by one, 33 countries now fund the full 12-month Herceptin course.
"Two and a half years later, hundreds of women diagnosed with this aggressive breast cancer have either had no Herceptin or, since July 2007, just nine weeks.
"Sub-optimal or zero treatment means they all face an uncertain future," says Dr Blue.
"What's it going to take for this Government to finally fund 12 months of Herceptin?"Tweet
28 July 2008
NEWS: Key welcomes new candidates
National Party Leader John Key has welcomed the announcement of two candidates for the party list, Steven Joyce and Melissa Lee.
"Steven Joyce has over a number of years played an important role in the rejuvenation of the party, and in accepting the board's nomination to stand for Parliament on National's list, this contribution is set to continue in the years ahead.
"National will benefit greatly from Steven's business and political experience, and I am looking forward to Steven joining the caucus."
Mr Key says he is also delighted at the nomination of Melissa Lee.
"The party list gives us the opportunity to recruit talented people and to work towards making our caucus more representative of the diverse communities that make up modern New Zealand society.
"In Melissa, we have an outstanding candidate.
"The Asian community plays an increasingly significant role in our country's growth for the future.
"I know that Melissa will work along with Pansy Wong to ensure continuing close relationships between the Asian communities and National."Tweet
An incoming National government would make no changes to the Working for Families tax credit system, says National Party Leader John Key.
"National wants to offer New Zealand families certainty about the future of the Working for Families system. That's why we intend making no change to it.
"A large number of New Zealand families get Working for Families. National understands this. I know it is particularly tough out there for families with kids. These are families with mums and dads who are working long hours, trying to get by on a modest wage in the absence of tax cuts under this Labour Government. We don't want to make life more difficult for them.
"While National has long been concerned about how far up the income scale Working for Families stretches, a careful analysis of possible changes at the higher income levels showed that it was not worthwhile making them.
"I have long held concerns, in addition, about high effective marginal tax rates acting as a disincentive to people under WFF, but we are confident that this issue will be addressed by our tax package.
"As I have always said, I am interested in what works. National acknowledges that Working for Families payments are an important part of the income of many families.
"Despite concerns we hold about the system, I consider that offering people certainty is much more important in these tough economic times."Tweet