The National Party would pay for women with early breast cancer to have the drug Herceptin for a year, rather than the current nine weeks funded under Labour.
National leader John Key and associate health spokeswoman Jackie Blue yesterday urged the Government to make money available for the one-year regimen.
Dr Blue, a former breast physician, told the Herald, when asked if National would fund this duration of treatment if it led the next government: "Yeah, pretty much."
Mr Key had said earlier on TVNZ that while the Government could not direct state medicine funding agency Pharmac to approve funding of the year course, "they can say, 'Look, we've got money available and you should take it'."
Their comments came as the board of Pharmac considered the results of public consultation over its 2006 decision against paying for the one-year course, and a new proposal from Herceptin's supplier, Roche Products New Zealand.
The consultation was ordered by the High Court in a case brought by a group of breast cancer patients, some of whom had been advised to have the year-long course, which can cost $100,000, including clinic fees.
From last July, district health boards have been paying for women with early-stage HER-2 positive breast cancer to have the nine-week course. They expected around 350 women a year would be eligible, at a cost to taxpayers of $6 million.
The HER-2 positive breast cancer - the name refers to a protein over-expressed by certain tumour cells - is the sub-group that can be treated by Herceptin.
It is a very aggressive disease.
Some women go on to top-up treatment after the state-funding ends.
Pharmac said when it rejected the year-long regimen in 2006 that it would have added $20 million to $25 million to the health boards' $35 million-$40 million budget for cancer drugs.
Roche sales and marketing manager Stuart Knight said yesterday that the 2006 proposal included additional elements, such as HER-2 testing. The latest offer, at Pharmac's request, was a "straight price discount", but he would not reveal the price.
Dr Blue understood it was "possibly" $10 million. "It's an offer they [Pharmac] can't turn down."
Health Minister David Cunliffe would not comment on Herceptin, his spokeswoman said, as he did not want to pre-empt Pharmac's decision.
Pharmac is expected to release its decision next week.
* Funding a year's course of Herceptin for early breast cancer patients would cost up to $25 million a year, Pharmac said in 2006.
* The National Party has indicated that a new proposal to Pharmac could cost less than half that amount.
* The existing, Pharmac-approved nine-week course costs the Government $6 million.