Community News

$56 million investment in Cancer and Inflammatory Disease medicines

The Government is investing $56 million to provide cheaper medicines for members of our community who have aggressive forms of cancer and inflammatory conditions, the Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said.

“We are listing four drugs on the PBS to help patients living with these debilitating and often life threatening conditions,” he said.

Under the PBS, treatment for brain tumours, leukaemia and inflammatory disease of the large blood vessels will be available to patients for just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card.

The new PBS listings from August include:

  •  Avastin® (bevacizumab) which will be extended on the PBS, to help treat patients living with refractory glioblastoma and brain tumours that are resistant to previous treatments. Without the PBS subsidy, the drug could cost up to $31,200 per course of treatment.
  • Sprycel® (dasatinib) which will be extended on the PBS to include newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a cancer of white blood cells in the bone marrow. This is the first time in the world that this medicine has been reimbursed by a Government for patients with this form of Leukaemia. Without PBS subsidy patients would pay more than $51,900 per year for this treatment.
  • Actemra® (tocilizumab)is being listed on the PBS for the treatment of giant cell arteritis. Patients would pay more than $10,200 per course of treatment without the PBS.
  • Somatuline®, Autogel® (lanreotide)for non-functional gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumour (GEP-NETs) is being extended to include access through community pharmacies in addition to hospitals. This will save patients up to $23,000 a year.

“Since 2013, the Government has listed over 2,000 new or amended items on the PBS. This represents an average of around 31 listings per month – or one each day – at an overall cost of around $10.6 billion,” Mr Hogan said.

“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.”