Whangārei-based list MP Dr Shane Reti hopes all MPs will support his Private Members Bill that would see district health boards pay for and administer day-stay cancer medicines where they are not funded by PHARMAC.
Dr Reti's private members bill was drawn from the ballot in Parliament last week.
If passed, it would see the law changed so that Kiwis can have their unfunded chemotherapy drugs administered in DHBs with the cost covered.
He said the bill is a sensible move and should be supported by all of Parliament.
"Currently unfunded cancer medicines can only be administered in expensive private cancer facilities at a further cost to the patient,'' Dr Reti said.
"This means that patients are not only mortgaging their homes, taking out loans and using up all their savings to buy their desperately needed medicines that Pharmac won't fund, but they then have to pay tens of thousands of dollars on top of this to have these medicines administered.
"Some of these expensive private facilities are many hours travel away from a patient's local DHB as well.''
He said these Kiwis are already in the heart-breaking and difficult situation of not only having cancer, but their chemotherapy drug isn't funded. Making these New Zealanders then pay the costs of administering their medicines doesn't seem fair.
"We've seen Kiwis make huge sacrifices to get the treatment they need, it's time for the Government to partner with our most vulnerable and give them the best possible chance to manage their cancer.
"National believes a few hours in an armchair in a day-stay chemotherapy unit pales in comparison to the tens of thousands, often hundreds of thousands, of dollars some people are paying for their unfunded chemotherapy drugs.
"The National Party is calling on the Government to support this law change and help make life a little easier for those Kiwis facing significant medical bills while trying to beat cancer."
The bill has the support of the Cancer Society, which said while families would still need to find money to fund the medicines, they would be saved the private hospital costs of administering the medicines.
"We are very aware that financial strain goes hand in hand with a cancer diagnosis even before factoring in unfunded drugs. Many people struggle with affordability around the basics like taking time off work during treatment and transportation to appointments,"
Cancer Society chief executive Lucy Elwood said.
"The bill will ease the burden for those New Zealanders who pay, sometimes through GoFundMe pages and mortgage deferment, for unfunded drugs. The hospital cost to administer these drugs can be up to one third of the total expense. We certainly acknowledge the difference this could make."
"However, we are optimistic that this will be the beginning of a conversation and we will provide a submission if the bill reaches Select Committee. This bill will make a difference to some, but it is one component in a very complex puzzle. To expect one bill to confront the issues of cancer care in Aotearoa is like expecting one financial policy to solve housing affordability – but it can be a starting place."
■ In New Zealand, a member's bill is one that is introduced by a Member of Parliament who is not a minister. There can be a maximum of eight members' bills on the Order Paper awaiting their first reading at any one time. When a slot opens up, a ballot is held to select a new members' bill for introduction; each MP can submit only one member's bill at a time to the ballot.
Every second Wednesday is reserved for debating members' bills, although this rule is overridden when certain government business is before the House, such as the Budget. Even when a Wednesday is devoted to members' bills, any private or local bills on the Order Paper are considered first.