Cancer drugs data

OIA response

Response to a request for information on use of specific cancer drugs.

11 October 2019

[name and contact information redacted]

Dear [name redacted]


Thank you for your request dated 14 September under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information on cancer medicines. You asked for -

(a) the annual number of, and

(b) annual amount of funding allocated to:

                   prostate cancer-specific drugs;

                   testicular cancer-specific drugs;

                   penile cancer-specific drugs;

                   breast cancer-specific drugs; and

                   cervical cancer-specific drugs.

Below is a list of medicines that have funded access criteria, which exclusively allows the medicine to be used to treat the applicable specific cancer identified in your request.

Please note that other medicines may be used to treat the cancers identified in your request, however these medicines are not exclusively used to treat those specific cancers and may be used to treat other types of cancer. Patients also have access to chemotherapy agents such as anthracyclines and platinum-based chemotherapy.

We do not hold specific numbers and costs attributed to each type of cancer. 

The information below covers the period from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018 and includes the medicines, number of units dispensed and the gross expenditure cost, which is based on the price listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule (exclusive of GST).

Prostate Cancer



Abiraterone acetate - Tab 250 mg


684, 455

Breast Cancer





Trastuzumab - Inj 150 mg vial



Trastuzumab - Inj 440 mg vial





Pertuzumab - Inj 30 mg per ml, 14 ml vial



Lapatinib ditosylate


Lapatinib ditosylate - Tab 250 mg



There are no specific funded pharmaceuticals that are exclusively allowed to be used to treat testicular cancer, penile cancer or cervical cancer. On that basis that part of your request is refused under section 18(g) of the OIA, as the information is not held by PHARMAC, and we have no reason to believe it is held by another agency.

You have the right, by way of complaint under section 28(3) of the OIA to an Ombudsman, to seek an investigation and review of our decision.

PHARMAC approaches its assessment of requests for information under the OIA on the basis that, once released, the information becomes publicly available. We are making our information more freely available and publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

We trust that this information answers your queries. 

Yours sincerely

Alison Hill
Director, Engagement and Implementation