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Four ‘breakthrough’ cancer drugs added to the PBS


Paul Hayes


25/02/2019 12:59:03 PM

Almost 2000 people with leukaemia, advanced kidney cancer, bladder cancer and liver cancer will have affordable access to new treatment options.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said patients will be able to access all of these medicines for $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card. (Image: Mick Tsikas)
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said patients will be able to access all of these medicines for $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card. (Image: Mick Tsikas)

The Federal Government has announced it will spend upwards of $200 million on making four new cancer drugs available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
 
‘From 1 March this year, patients will be able to access all of these medicines for just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card,’ Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
 
The drugs to be listed on the PBS are for patients with leukaemia, advanced kidney cancer, bladder cancer and liver cancer.
 
Venetoclax (sold as venclexta)
This drug is for people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), a slow-growing cancer that affects white blood cells. Venetoclax blocks a protein that helps the cancer cells survive, and may slow the spread of the cancer.
 
According to the Government, 420 patients are expected to benefit from the listing, without which they would have to pay around $7000 per script or $165,000 per course of treatment over a two-year period.
 
Nivolumab (sold as opdivo) and Ipilimumab (sold as yervoy)
This combination therapy will become available for the previously untreated stage IV clear cell variant renal cell carcinoma, an advanced type of kidney cancer.
 
More than 300 patients a year will be able to access the treatment, which helps the immune system attack and destroy cancer cells.
 
Patients have previously had to pay $254,200 per course of treatment.
 
Pembrolizumab (sold as keytruda)
This medicine will be available for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer, a cancer of the urinary system that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery.
 
The drug is designed to make cancer cells more vulnerable to attack by the body’s own immune system.
 
It is estimated that more than 430 patients will be able to access this medicine through the PBS instead of paying more than $91,000 per course of treatment.
 
Lenvatinib (sold as lenvima)
This drug is administered to patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), and may slow the rate at which the cancer cells multiply and tumours grows.
 
Approximately 620 patients will no longer have to pay $9600 per script or more than $62,000 per course of treatment.



cancer drugs PBS Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme


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