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News for week ending 3 May 2002


Pharmac and Novartis have agreed on some key areas as they progress their discussions on funding the chronic myeloid leukaemia drug Glivec (imatinib mesylate).

Pharmac chief executive Wayne McNee and Novartis managing director Andrew Moore said the meeting this week was the latest in a series as they consider the funding of the cancer drug.

Pharmac has stated it would fund the drug if an affordable proposal was put to it by Novartis.

Wayne McNee described the meeting as positive.

"We are happy with progress to date and confident we can continue our dialogue with Novartis on funding Glivec," he said

Meanwhile, Novartis will continue to supply Glivec to the 30 New Zealand patients on its expanded access programme until funding is available.

Andrew Moore says the programme was implemented prior to the approval of Glivec in New Zealand in response to patient and physician demand for the therapy based on the remarkable clinical results seen in early trials.

He now believes Pharmac and its expert advisors have recognised the value of Glivec treatment.

Wayne McNee and Andrew Moore say that as Pharmac and Novartis are in commercial negotiations, they will be unable to comment further.

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