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View Dr Richard Gearry's letter to the Prime Minister on 30 September 2020
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About our petition
Crohn's & Colitis New Zealand Charitable Trust, in partnership with the New Zealand Society of Gastroenterology, is asking for your support of a petition to Parliament on behalf of the NZ community of over 20,000 patients who live with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis (Crohn’s & Colitis).
The petition is being led by gastroenterologist and CCNZ Chairman Dr Richard Stein who is asking the Government to urgently fund standard, up-to-date treatment for patients with severe Crohn’s & Colitis, for whom all other funded medications available in NZ have failed.
We consider Pharmac’s decision not to fund mainstream treatments that are routinely funded throughout the world both outrageous and disgraceful, and we intend to campaign vigorously for this to change.
Without access to up-to-date medications, the current pathway for patients for whom all funded treatments have failed is emergency hospitalisations, irreversible surgeries to remove sections of the bowel, and for many, permanent stoma bags. Condemning people (most of whom are children, teens, and young adults) in this way to a life of chronic pain and social isolation is not only appallingly unnecessary, but is a heavy cost to the health system and the economy.
And for us as medical professionals, to see our patients condemned to this kind of future, when we know there are treatments available that could give them the possibility of normal, productive and fulfilling lives, is deeply distressing.
We are encouraging our community of colleagues, patients and their families to raise this issue as forcefully as possible during this election campaign, and we wanted to ensure you are fully briefed on the issue.