Body & Fitness

Groundbreaking skin cancer drug could be answer to disease

Skin cancer sufferers are campaigning to make the 'life-saving' treatment available to all Kiwis.
Sad woman

Melanoma sufferers are heading to Parliament today to get a groundbreaking cancer drug funded.

Leisa Renwick funded her own treatment on cancer drug Keytruda, after being diagnosed with stage four melanoma.

After doing so, Leisa went into remission, despite being told she was terminally ill.

Today the cancer survivor and fellow sufferers will meet with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and hand him a petition – asking for the life-saving drug to be made available to all Kiwis who need it.

She added that there is no other treatment, and not to provide it is to condemn people to die.

“There are sick people who have made the effort to get here: it’s not easy for them, physically or financially, yet he won’t listen or hear what we have to say,” she previously said of Coleman.

More than 45,000 Kiwis have signed petitions calling on the Government to fund the skin cancer treatment, but Coleman told TV3 that he doesn’t have a “magic wand” to find money for it.

“I haven’t got a magic wand, I’ve got a certain amount of money, Pharmac’s got $800 million, and it’s very important that these decisions are left to Pharmac.

“You’ve got to use the Pharmac budget for the greatest benefit for the greatest number of New Zealanders, and you’ve got to look at the hard clinical evidence – there’s no easy answers here.”

The immunotherapy treatment costs around $170,000 a year, with Pharmac previously saying it was too expensive a treatment to consider.

The petition will be handed over at lunchtime Tuesday.

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