Labor Candidate for Lane Cove Andrew Zbik has welcomed the announcement that a Foley Labor Government will abolish the chemotherapy co-payment for all cancer patients in NSW public hospitals.
The announcement was made by Labor Leader Luke Foley at the official launch of Labor’s election campaign in Campbelltown on Sunday.
Labor will provide $6.2 million to ensure that chemotherapy is free of charge to all cancer patients in NSW public hospitals – easing the financial burden experienced by patients and their families.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy in some NSW public hospitals currently pay a one-off co-payment for chemotherapy drugs injected or infused via drip.
Some cancer patients pay up to $180 in co-payments for their initial chemotherapy treatment, and may even be charged more down the track if their treatment changes.
Mr Zbik said “I welcome Labor’s commitment to abolish the chemotherapy co-payment.”
“It is disgraceful that people in our community who have been fighting cancer have been slugged with this unnecessary financial burden.
“The last thing you need to be worried about after being diagnosed with cancer is checking your bank account.
“If we can abolish this penny-pinching co-payment and take one burden of the shoulders of cancer patients and their families then lets do it – a Foley Labor Government will do it.”
- The chemotherapy co-payment was introduced by the Liberal-National Government in 2012.
- This co-payment is not charged in other states because chemotherapy patients are admitted as in-patients and are thus reimbursed from the Australian Government.
- 51,000 people a year are expected to be diagnosed with cancer by 2021.
- The Cancer Council estimates the average lifetime out-of-pocket cost for a person with cancer and their family is $47,200 – including $38,300 in productivity costs, $3,900 in non-health costs and $5,000 for health care.
- Almost half of public cancer outpatients in NSW have household incomes below $30,000 after tax.
- The co-payment is required for the first prescription of each chemotherapy drug. The first round of chemotherapy can involve four or five separate drugs, so it is common for patients to pay around $180 for the first treatment.
- If the treatment program changes and new chemotherapy medicines are prescribed, patients must pay another co-pay - on top of any fees for other drugs, such as medications to relieve chemotherapy side effects like nausea.