From what I understand of Herceptin, I can’t quite understand why we don’t fund a full (one year) course of the drug. Neither can a group of women with breast cancer, who are taking New Zealands drug funding agency Pharmac to court to find out and have had a small win:
Eight breast cancer survivors have won the right to see “commercially sensitive” documents on the first day of their high court appeal against Pharmac.
They are challenging Pharmac’s decision not to fund a full course of Herceptin treatment for New Zealand women diagnosed with her-2 positive breast cancer.
The government currently funds the treatment for nine weeks, with doctors advising women to continue privately funding the drug if they can afford it.
I hope they do win. Herceptin has a good record (again, from what I know of it anyway) and should be funded for the amount of time it takes to be effective.