The last few weeks have seen some important events for health in general and our charity in particular.

First of all we wish two of our founding board members well in their new life in Australia. Thank you for all you have done over the years,  Narelle and Shane.

Last week saw the publication of the Pharmac Review report. How will it affect us here in the world of HNC? We don’t know yet but if Pharmac is more collaborative, equitable, transparent and flexible it can mean only good news for the future. Health Minister Andrew Little said it marked the end of “the independent republic of Pharmac”.

I think New Zealanders have been proud of Pharmac for its ability to drive a hard bargain with pharmaceutical companies but increasingly frustrated, even heartbroken, when people in Australia have life enhancing drugs funded by the government when we do not.

Also in recent times I have been alerted to the Cancer Control Agency’s (Te Aho o te Kahu) 2021 report on the state of cancer in New Zealand. Most of the report was about the most common cancers in New Zealand, ie bowel and breast cancer, but a list of the top 10 cancers included HNC as seen in the chart below.

We are a much under-reported cancer.