Unicorn Foundation New Zeleand happily announced on 21 November 2017 that they got the result from the Consumer Submission which was made earlier in August to Pharmac, the New Zealand government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund in New Zealand. The Cancer Treatments Sub-committee have recommended that PRRT be funded for patients with medium priority for the treatment of un-resectable or metastatic, well-differentiated NETs (irrespective of primary site) that express somatostatin receptors.
This recommendation still needs to go to the final committee (PTAC) who will discuss it all in February 2018 and there are still some more hurdles to overcome, but overall this is a great news for NET community in New Zealand and a huge progress on the long road local Unicorn Foundation along with partners took to persuade authorities NET patient should be supported. Almost 50 New Zealanders with neuroendocrine cancer are currently raising tens of thousands of dollars to pay for treatment in Australia because the life-prolonging treatment isn’t available locally.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped us on the journey so far, it has been a long road and we still have a way to go but we appreciate every one of you. A extra special thanks to Dr Ben Lawrence who submitted a clinical submission to Pharmac and has been instrumental in all the progress that has been made here in NZ. There are too many others to thank but please know you are part of our team and we appreciate you too”, Unicorn team published excited message to supporters in Facebook .
Back in August, Unicorn Foundation New Zealand along with patients petitioned Pharmac to consider funding specialist Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) for NET patients. 2000 signed letters were delivered along with the Consumer Submission made by Unicorn Foundation New Zealand.
Budget 2017 includes a $60m boost to Pharmac to allow greater access to medicines. So hopefully in 2018 the local NET patient community will hear the big news.