The Government is investing more than $200 million to list four new breakthrough cancer treatments on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), saving patients up to a quarter of a million dollars a year, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said.
Mr Hogan said patients with leukaemia, advanced kidney cancer, bladder cancer and liver cancer will have new and innovative treatment options that have the potential to save and extend the lives of thousands of Australians and pay as little as $6.50 a script.
The new PBS cancer listings from 1 March 2019 include:
- Venclexta® (venetoclax), which will be listed on the PBS for the first time for people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), a slow-growing cancer that affects white blood cells. Without the PBS subsidy, they would have to pay around $7,000 per script or $165,000 per course of treatment over a two year period. This has the potential to improve the lives of some patients with CLL who will be given a new treatment option. The anti-cancer drug venetoclax was developed at Melbourne’s own Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
- Combination therapy Opdivo® (nivolumab) and Yervoy® (ipilimumab) 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 this treatment that helps the immune system attack and destroy cancer cells. The PBS subsidy means they will not need to pay $254,200 per course of treatment.
- Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) will become available for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer, which is a cancer of the urinary system that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery. This is the first PBS immunotherapy treatment for this condition. Patients will be able to access this medicine through the PBS instead of paying more than $91,000 per course of treatment.
- Lenvima® (lenvatinib) will be available for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). Without the PBS subsidy, patients would pay $9,600 per script or more than $62,000 per course of treatment.
“These are the latest of nearly 2000 PBS listings we’ve been able to make since we came to government,” he said.
“This represents an average of about 30 listings per month—or one each day— at an overall cost of around $10.6 billion.
“Our Government continues to list every drug on the PBS approved by the PBAC to ensure that new, essential medicines are affordable for all Australians.”
“Our commitment to the PBS is rock solid. Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class health care system.”