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The price of a life: stark choice facing Kiwis needing unfunded medicines

The price of a life: stark choice facing Kiwis needing unfunded medicines

Sick New Zealanders who need unfunded medicines are faced with a stark choice: turn to crowdfunding platforms and rely on the generosity of strangers, or remortgage the house. But is there a better way?

Life is slowly starting to become normal for Kiri Morehu​ after terminal melanoma killed her husband Andrew Hercus.

Hercus was given 12 months to live in February 2019. What followed was surgeries, immunotherapy and radiation therapy. When all subsidised medicines failed to stop the cancer, the couple footed the bill for drugs Cotellic​ and Zelboraf​. It cost more than $60,000 over six months before Hercus died last March, aged 41. The medicines are funded in dozens of countries.

Like many others in her situation, Morehu is left with a series of “what ifs”: What if the couple hadn’t had the added stress of financing his medical bills; what if she wasn’t trying to find $10,000 a month and could have spent more time emotionally with him?

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