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    Leo Braun

    Alan Jones: “Just one final thing, which has nothing to do with your portfolio, but as Deputy Prime Minister. My attention has been drawn to the fact that 350 bowel cancer patients a month are dying as they wait for the Federal Govt to approve a subsidy for the cancer drug Avastin. Eight months ago the Federal Govt’s expert medicines advisory body approved a subsidy and that would have cut the cost of the medicine to $32.90 for general patients and $5.30 for pensioners, and the drug can extend a patient’s life for months, in some cases, years”!

    “But before the subsidies can be paid, Cabinet has to rubber stamp the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee ruling because the subsidy for the drug will cost taxpayers more than $10 million a year. Now, in the eight months since the drug was approved for subsidy, 1,600 patients who could have had their lives extended by the drug have missed out”!

    “Now, bowel cancer, Julia, is the nation’s most common and it kills more than 4,500 people every year. Can you, as the Deputy Prime Minister, accelerate Federal Government approval for the subsidy for this drug, Avastin”?

    Julia Gillard: “Well, what I can say, Alan, is I’ll certainly find out what’s happening with it. I’ll speak to my colleague, Nicola Roxon, the Minister for Health. Nicola, of course, is someone who’s very determined to make improvements in our health system. I’m afraid, Alan, I don’t know every detail about this”.

    Alan Jones: “No, but if I can come back to you because people are asking”?

    Julia Gillard: Certainly, “I’ll speak to Nicola Roxon and we’ll get an answer for you”! … http://www.deewr.gov.au/Ministers/Gillard/Media/Transcripts/Pages/Article_090311_134302.aspx

    Related topic … http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2009/09/24/for-another-view-on-prostate-cancer-screening

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