Campaigners for better drugs for advanced breast cancer say they expect the Government to take a hard look at the Pharmac model.
Hundreds of people travelled to Parliament last week and presented a 32,000-signature petition calling for the funding of Ibrance, and another petition for breast cancer drug Kadcyla.
Petitioners have also called for an urgent select committee inquiry into how Pharmac operates, particularly around how quickly it assesses new drugs and Māori access to medicines.
Malcolm Mulholland was at Parliament with his wife Wiki, who has advanced breast cancer. He was part of a group who later met Health Minister David Clark in his office.
"We appreciated him making the time to meet us ... he recognises there are issues around the funding of modern medicines within New Zealand. We are not just talking about cancer. We are talking about all ailments and diseases that the population are confronted with."
In Opposition Labour pledged to investigate an early funding model to speed-up access to some drugs, and Clark has asked for advice from officials, which is yet to come back.
"I took away from the meeting that he is genuinely keen to take a good, long hard look at it as a way of addressing a systemic issue, one that has not been resolved by Pharmac," Mulholland said.
Pharmac chief executive Sarah Fitt has been critical of early access schemes, saying they could weaken the agency's considerable bargaining power.
Fitt has cited research that concluded early access schemes overseas could do more harm than good, because too many high-cost and ineffective drugs were funded.
Drug companies often claimed products were breakthroughs, she previously told the Herald, but studies later disproved that.
Breast Cancer Foundation NZ chief executive Evangelia Henderson said the organisation strongly supported a review of Pharmac, and looked forward to taking part in such a process if possible.
"Meanwhile, we are anxious to see progress regarding funding of Ibrance and Kadcycla. Every oncologist we've spoken to wants both of these drugs available for their patients with advanced breast cancer, and urgently."
Pfizer put in a funding application for Ibrance in February, and it will be assessed by two expert committees, and assigned a priority ranking - decline, low, medium or high. Drugs are then placed somewhere on a ranking list, to be funded when money allows.
The Breast Cancer Foundation is concerned the application lodged by Pfizer is for first-line treatment. That could exclude funding for women taking the drug after cancer has progressed following earlier treatment for advanced breast cancer.
Mulholland agreed, saying it could be a major problem.
"My concern is that the ladies who made the effort to go down to Parliament last week will not actually be funded if that application is approved only for first-line treatment. I would say it would be several hundred women affected by that decision."