Labour announced its policy in December last year, to establish a fund based on the Cancer Drug Fund in the UK.
The UK example however, has begun dominating headlines in that country with massive budget blowouts and academic reviews citing the numbers of lives saved may not be living up to expectations.
A study of the six-year-old fund, by York University, found that if the NZ$484m spent on the Cancer Drugs Fund between April 2013 and April 2014 was instead spent on its wider public health system, it could have added more than 17,800 “quality-adjusted life years” – the measure that they, and Pharmac, use which assesses both survival and quality of life.
The study estimated that the Cancer Drugs Fund added less than 3,400 during that time.
So Labour’s policy is to use a model where a proportion of funding is set aside for drugs which are less than one fifth as effective as other drugs. Great policy.