“Depriving children of cancer drugs shows exactly why we need a funding review into PHARMAC,” says ACT’s Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“A report this morning that PHARMAC is likely to end blanket funding for kids’ cancer drugs is incredibly alarming.

“PHARMAC is considering removing blanket funding for any drug doctors think a child with cancer needs for life-saving treatment, including new drugs found overseas.

“All because an advocate tried to fight for children with SMA to also have lifesaving drugs funded.

“Whether it is children with cancer, SMA, or any other condition or disease, we're talking about the lives of real children.

“PHARMAC recently stated it needs over $400 million in extra funding to cover all the medicines it wishes to cover.

“Funding was explicitly removed from the review into PHARMAC, and was not mentioned in the health reforms at all.

“Funding new drugs costs more money, but as medicines technology improves we need to be asking whether PHARMAC’s funding model is fit for purpose.

“ACT would implement a full review of PHARMAC that includes funding. The Government needs to do the right thing and implement the full review.”