A terminally ill man who was unable to afford $540,000 for medication to extend his life has been offered the drugs for free, thanks to a little-known scheme that could help many other cancer patients.

The Nelson man, who has a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and has been given two years to live without treatment, and his wife were struggling to find the money for the drug Brentuximab.

Desperate for something to extend his life his wife began researching alternatives.

One option was moving to Australia, where each of the 16 rounds needed would cost A$160 ($167) after government