Mulholland supports calls for PHARMAC Inquiry

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Stage four breast cancer sufferer Wiki Mulholland is supporting calls for an Inquiry into PHARMAC.  

Mulholland gave evidence to the Health Select Committee saying drug funding processes are too slow and causing needless deaths.

She told the committee that she is sad and fearful that New Zealand is behind the rest of the developed world in funding modern medicines.

“That could mean that I have my angel wings in October next year,” she says.

Six months ago, Mulholland was diagnosed with breast cancer.  However the life-prolonging medication, Ibrance, she needs to stay alive costs $6,800 per month.

“We need to turn the light on there and actually have a look at why some of the decisions are being made that they're making.”

Mulholland, along with terminal breast cancer sufferer Terre Maize, wants PHARMAC to explain their funding policies- which can take three years to decide on whether a drug is subsidised.

“Our median lifespan is 16 months as opposed to three years overseas,” says Maise, “And I think that's largely because we don't have access to medications and our lives are in the hands of PHARMAC and parliament.  

PHARMAC Chief Executive Sarah Fitt told Te Kāea in a statement:

“Having a fixed budget means we need to make careful and considered funding choices in the interests of all New Zealanders.

While some medicines may be available in other countries, the funding and reimbursement systems are often not comparable.” 

Since May Mulholland has raised over $56,000 through GiveaLittle and will look to start Ibrance treatment next year.