Naomi Raftery, Chewton
To all the local people and businesses who signed or hosted my petition petition to Greg Hunt MP for the inclusion of the Oncotype DX test in public funding through Medicare, I am writing to thank you for your support.
Almost 1000 people have signed the petition to date and our local MP will present it to parliament in coming weeks.
The Medical Services Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the government about tests such as this one, for or against public funding. This test has been considered and knocked back seven times by MSAC.
The current health minister says that if his party is returned to government they will fund any test with a positive recommendation from MSAC. The shadow health minister says they would support another type of therapy for breast cancer.
The company who has made the last five applications, Specialised Therapeutics, says they won’t be making another application but have been in talks with the health department about the minister waiving the necessity for the application process due to the already accumulated cost of applying.
There is a researcher in Western Australia who is crunching the numbers on cost/benefit of funding this test, which appears to be a major missing piece in the puzzle of why MSAC haven’t approved the test thus far. If the numbers stack up this research could be used to argue the case for public funding in the future.
Breast Cancer Network Australia have given in-principle support to Specialised Therapeutics should they decide to lodge another application in the future.
In short it is a work in process but could still get over the line in the future. For this reason I think that the petition is relevant and a direct action towards enhancing our public health funding for everybody who needs it.