Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced four medicine listings through the PBS from 1 August
Mr Hunt says that the Morrison Government will invest $56 million in subsiding the medicines, which treat aggressive forms of cancer and inflammatory conditions.
Somatuline, Autogel (lanreotide) for non-functional gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumour (GEP-NETs) is being extended to include access through community pharmacy in addition to hospitals. “We are now extending the current listing to include supply through the community pharmacy, so that patients can access their medicine from their local community pharmacy,” Mr Hunt said. Somatuline Autogel was listed for GEP-NETs from 1 December 2018; at that time 760 patients per year were expected to benefit from that listing, saving them up to $23,000 a year
Avastin (bevacizumab), which will be extended on the PBS to help treat patients living with refractory glioblastoma. Without PBS listing, the drug could cost up to $31,200 per course of treatment and more than 900 Australians are expected to benefit from the listing.
Sprycel (dasatinib) will be extended on the PBS to include newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Mr Hunt says that 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, and 80 patients a year are expected to benefit.
Actemra (tocilizumab) is being listed on the PBS for the treatment of giant cell arteritis. This listing could benefit an average of 852 patients per year, who would pay over $10,200 per course of treatment, Mr Hunt says.
“Since 2013, our Government more than 2,100 new or amended items on the PBS,” Mr Hunt said.
“This represents an average of around 30 listings per month, or one each day at an overall cost of around $10.6 billion.”
He told reporters that bringing forward new medicines for PBS listing has been a “deep, personal passion and commitment” by himself as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Our commitment is absolute that if the medical experts recommend the medicines, we will list them on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and save tens of thousands of dollars or in some cases of patients, hundreds of thousands of dollars.”