Medicines on the table

Government announces two major new PBS listings 

The federal government has announced the addition of two new listings to the PBS from 1 November 2018.

The new listings are a treatment for advanced lung cancer, and a cardiovascular disease treatment.

In a media release, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said: “November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and from 1 November patients with advanced lung cancer will have the treatment Keytruda subsidised for first-line treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) will benefit around 850 patients a year, he added.

“Without PBS subsidy it would cost over $11,300 per script or $188,000 a year. Patient will now pay a maximum of $39.50 per script or just $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners,” he said.

Mr Hunt said the listing meant that “for the first time eligible patients with advanced lung cancer can avoid chemotherapy and be treated with this novel immunotherapy.”

“Keytruda is an immunotherapy medicine working with a patient’s own immune system to recognise cancer cells and destroy them”.

“This medicine is already listed on the PBS for classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma and unresectable Stage III or Stage IV malignant melanoma”.

The other new listing is Repatha (evolocumab) for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia, which is a genetic high cholesterol condition.

“More than 6,000 people with the condition, who are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke at an early age, will benefit from the treatment,” Mr Hunt said.

“Patients would normally pay around $630 a script, or more than $8000 a year. With its listing on the PBS, eligible patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script for Repatha or just $6.40 with a concession card”.

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